Cancellation of PHMA’s PDS Denver 2014

Attention: All PHMA Members:

It is with deep regret that I inform you of our cancellation of the subject Professional Development Seminar.

Since the cancellation of PDS New Orleans in 2013, PHMA has been actively engaged with the Senior Civilian Housing leadership in the Services and OSD, to seek ways to make PDS Denver a viable event. We have also, through a registered lobbyist, been engaging the staffs of the several Committees of Congress who provide authorization and appropriation for the DoD housing programs. Additionally,
we have worked with numerous other non-profit associations who support the Defense Department and/or the travel and hotel industry in the United States.

On June 5, 2013 PHMA held an Executive Council meeting to discuss the path ahead for PHMA. In attendance were President Del Eulberg, Executive Vice President Wilkie Wilkerson, Treasurer Barry Scribner, Secretary Chris Cole, Darlene McCoy, Director Chapters & Regional Ops, Member At Large Joyce Van Slyke and myself. Attending from the Services were Bill Pearson, Program Manager, Navy Housing; Suzanne Harrison, Housing Chief, Army; Bob Kass, Housing Director, Marine Corps; and Melissa Frederickson, Housing Director, Coast Guard & Wes Westbrook, Coast Guard. Roberto Castellanos, Deputy Housing Director, Air Force was unable to attend, but was back-briefed. From OSD Joe Sikes, Director, Housing & Competitive Sourcing and Pat Coury, Deputy Director, Facility Investment & Management.

There was unanimous agreement that PHMA’s Professional Development Seminar was of value to all attendees and should be continued, but at the same time there was unanimous concern regarding the availability of government funding for attendance. Of particular concern was the probability that existing management controls and the FY 2013 funding levels would be continued or be even more restrictive once the Congress passed a FY 2014 budget, especially given the potential further reductions of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (the "sequester"). In all the meeting produced some 15 follow-on action items with an understanding that discussion of PDS 2014 would continue as the progress of the FY 2014 budget process and the Sequester actions continued to evolve. It was anticipated that the funding picture would clarify upon conclusion of the federal budget process.

Since the meeting we have remained in active contact with the Services and OSD working on various action items and tracking the Federal budget process through Congressional actions – or non-actions. As we now know the 2014 federal budget process still has not been concluded, and no fiscal year 2014 budget has been established. Instead, the federal government shutdown, from October 1st through October 16th, ended when Congress passed a Continuing Resolution to fund the government at fiscal year 2013 levels through January 15, 2014. In addition, the effects of the “sequester” imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 on the 2014 federal budget in general, and on defense funding in particular, remain an unknown at this time. Once the Federal government re-opened from the furloughs, we again asked the Services if they were able to make an attendance determination for PDS 2014, and were advised that, in light of these Congressional actions, they could not commit to sending federal housing staffs to PDS 2014.

Accordingly, we simply have no choice other than to cancel PDS Denver 2014. I can, however, assure you that PHMA is already focusing on FY 2015 in terms of holding a PDS and at the same time we are seeking other possible ways to continue to allow interactions and training with and among all of the many stakeholders in the DoD and Coast Guard housing programs.

One of our new initiatives is already working. You should be shortly receiving your November/December issue of Defense Communities and in the Table of Contents you will see that we have established two new features for all future issues. On a rotating basis, the Senior Civilian leadership of each of the Services will be providing columns on items of interest to you. Army and Air Force did one each in this issue. Also you will see several “Spotlights” on various housing offices around the system. This issue contains articles on MCAS Iwakuni Japan; Joint Base Lewis-McChord Washington; NAS Sigonella Italy; and the Air Force office in Spangdahlem, Germany. The Services are already at work on the January/February issue, and we already know we will have several Spotlights and more Service Corners. If you would like to have your installation "Spotlighted," contact Melissa Cooper on the PHMA staff and she will put you in contact with your Service POC (703-771-1888, Ext 14 or mcooper@mhli.org).

Additionally throughout 2014, different issues of Defense Communities will be emphasizing different functional areas of housing and will also have articles from various privatization Partners. One issue may focus on the history of privatization; or housing referral today; or overseas housing management; or eMH; etc. If you have things you’d like to see, let Melissa know.

Jon R. Moore, DHD
Executive Director