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Conferences

A. External Conferences

External conferences are those that involve the attendance of persons other than the employees of a single state department, institution, or agency. Payment for meals is allowable if included in the registration fee, but the fee must not consist exclusively of meal charges, or it will not be allowable unless it meets overnight travel criteria.

 Conferences sponsored or cosponsored by a state department are authorized when they meet the following limitations/requirements:

  1. The conference is planned in detail in advance, with a formal agenda or curriculum.
  2. There is a written invitation to participants, setting forth the calendar of events, the social activities (if any), and a detailed cost schedule.
  3. Whenever feasible, assemblies should be held in state facilities. When necessary, non-state facilities may be rented and the cost charged to "Rental of Conference Rooms" without allocation to participants daily subsistence allowances.
  4. Registration fees exceeding $30, the statutory rate, may be charged by the sponsoring department to participants for costs of external conferences. Approval of the department head of the sponsoring department is required for excess registration. Registration fees may not include costs of entertainment, alcoholic beverages, setups, or flowers. Registration fees collected and not used to defray expenses of the particular conferences may not be used for other programs and must revert to the general or highway fund as applicable.
  5. Sponsoring departments may provide refreshments for coffee breaks provided there are twenty or more participants and costs do not exceed $4 per participant per day.
  6. When assemblies are to be held under the sponsorship of a state department in which the funding for all participants is budgeted, lump-sum payments to a conference center or an organization may be made upon written authorization from the department head. The authorization must provide the following:
    • the purpose and duration of the conference
    • the number of persons expected to attend
    • the specific meals to be served at the conference (law prohibits lunches being provided to state employees unless registration fees are charged to all attendees)
    • the approximate daily subsistence cost per person
    • the name of the conference center, hotel, caterer, or other organization providing the service.
  7. It is the responsibility of the departments to ensure that reimbursement for meals included in the lump-sum payment is not also included in reimbursement payments made to state employees who are conference participants

B. Internal Conferences

Internal conferences are those that involve the attendance of employees within that particular department, institution, or agency only. No payment for meals is allowable unless overnight travel criteria are met. A routine staff meeting is not an internal conference.

Requirements/Limitations

  1. The conference is planned in detail in advance, with a formal agenda or curriculum.
  2. There is a written invitation to participants, setting forth the calendar of events and a detailed cost schedule.
  3. No excess travel subsistence may be granted for internal departmental meetings, conferences, seminars, etc., and such meetings must be held in state facilities when available. No registration fee may be charged.
  4. Sponsoring departments may provide refreshments for coffee breaks provided there are twenty or more participants and costs do not exceed $4 per participant per day.

C. Management Retreats

A management retreat is a meeting or series of meetings consisting of a department or division head and their top assistants and coworkers. Retreats are sometimes held at a site other than the usual workplace and are held no more than once a year. Only the chancellor may authorize an annual management retreat. Expenditures are permissible in a manner as if it were an internal conference.

D. Informal Meetings with Guests of Department Heads

State employees who are elected by a vote of the people or appointed by the governor, the president of The University of North Carolina, the chancellors of the constituent institutions of The University, the executive director of North Carolina Memorial Hospital, the controller of the State Board of Education, and the president of the Community College System, or their designee, when given prior written approval by the department head for a specific event, may be reimbursed from state funds for actual costs of meals for themselves and individuals (who are not state employees) who are their guests, when accompanying them in the course of conducting official state business. Department heads may be authorized to pay an honorarium to non-state employees for expenses. (Cost of meals and other expenses for family members of the above referenced state officials are not reimbursable.