To ensure all travel meets the test of necessity, travel involving more than three EMPLOYEES from UMW to a single travel destination must be approved IN ADVANCE (PRIOR TO ANY TRAVEL PURCHASES) by the President or designee. This includes travel of presenters as well as attendees. For international travel, such approval must be obtained from the responsible Cabinet Secretary. (The Cabinet Secretary for Education has designated this responsibility to the President of the University.) These provisions apply to daily as well as overnight travel.
A memo detailing the purpose of sending more than three employees MUST be signed IN ADVANCE (PRIOR TO ANY TRAVEL PURCHASES) by the President or designee appropriate to your department. A copy of the signed memo MUST be submitted with each travel reimbursement expense form.
Anyone (staff, faculty, supervisor, or UMW President or designee) can write the memo. The memo must provide a reasonable justification for sending more than three employees, and it must be signed and dated (PRIOR TO TRAVEL EXPENSES/PURCHASES) by the President or designee.
For example, the memo can be in the form of an email to the President or designee from an employee requesting approval to send more than three employees to a particular conference–and giving the justification for sending more than three employees. The President or designee could print the email, sign and date the printed copy, and then send the hard copy back to the requestor. The requestor would then make copies for all travelers to submit with their travel reimbursement request.
The reasons for sending more than three employees vary with the conference; here are some examples:
Some conferences have multiple sessions taking place at the same times, so the Business and Finance department may need to send more than three employees to be able to “cover” all informational sessions. The memo would simply need to state this fact, which justifies the need to send more than three employees.
The Biology department may want five professors to take 10 students to a conference to present research findings. The reason for sending more than three employees is to present research findings with their research students. The state regulations do not address the number of students attending a conference; the regulations address sending “more than three EMPLOYEES,” but the reason for sending more than three employees is due to the students’ research.
Faculty from both the Modern Foreign Language department and the English department may want to present at or attend the Modern Language Association Conference. It is reasonable that more than three UMW employees would want to attend that conference. The memo simply needs to clearly explain and justify the reason for sending more than three employees.
There is no form to complete for sending more than three employees, and there is no standard UMW procedure. The state’s regulation requires:
A written justification that has been signed and dated IN ADVANCE by the President or designee.
Where it is determined that a seminar, workshop or training program is essential to staff development for five or more EMPLOYEES, UMW shall investigate the option of bringing the trainer on site instead of authorizing employees to travel to an off-site location. UMW shall document the comparative cost of an on-site session and retain such documentation on file with the travel records. UMW must also explore the practicality of fulfilling the desired staff development goals through use of studio and video teleconferencing where these options may be more cost-effective.
In selecting locations for meetings, UMW shall give first preference to State-owned facilities. For meetings of policy, advisory, or supervisory boards, the selection of a meeting site should reflect the policy that a public body conducting public business shall take care that public funds are expended prudently.
In planning for an agency-sponsored conference, the Lodging and M&IE guidelines in these regulations should be used as a measure of reasonableness. UMW should be prudent in selecting the most cost beneficial option available to the Commonwealth. Agencies should follow the Department of General Services, Division of Purchases and Supply procurement guidelines. Documentation supporting the procurement must justify any costs in excess of the guidelines based on the overall conference procurement costs (i.e., free room space or other no or low-cost amenities needed for meetings.)
For reimbursements where these guidelines are used, “Cost based on Procurement Guidelines” must be clearly stated on the reimbursement voucher.