Advocacy Day, by Christy Jellets, IFMA Foundation, Trustee & Chapter President, 2010-11
“Be at the table or be on the menu.”
I am here! To use the word “Thrilling” is an understatement when I express how my career has come full circle. Beginning as an administrative support person for the Georgia Civil Rights Network, to Washington DC, obtaining updates on IFMA’s legislative agenda on “The Hill” is exciting to say the least.
A recap of my visit to “The Hill” follows. It began with participant introductions; each chapter sent two representatives each serving a two-year term. Of the two members, one is a more seasoned member while the other is relatively new on the scene. Gean Leyba and I would thank you for the opportunity to represent you at IFMA. Gean and I found that the members as a whole focused on getting our business on the GSA supply schedule. I am eager to learn more about IFMA’s presence “on the hill”, and how our Atlanta Chapter Members can have a more effective voice in government.
IFMA supports public policy to protect our industry through effective legislation. Did you know IFMA has a lobbyist on staff in Washington every day of the year? Jeff Johnson represents us in the offices and chambers and through the hallways and tunnels surrounding The White House.
So what was the focus? There were three main agenda items for participants to take to congress and to its’ membership back home during the 7th Annual FM Advocacy Day. First, IFMA wants all federal facility managers to be trained to the same high standards used in private industry. Funding the CFM, SFP and FMP programs was mandated in the 2011 Federal Building Personnel Training Act (FBPTA) and IFMA wants its’ membership to encourage their politicians to insure that the General Services Administration (GSA) is allocating resources to meet this mandate.
Secondly, the Civilian Property Realignment Act (CPRA) of 2012, introduced by Congressman Jeff Denham (R-CA19th District) would focus on the 500,000 federally owned properties. IFMA has lobbied to align the properties portfolio of the federal government to ensure it maximizes properties is part of this bill. Also, agencies within the federal government are allowed to negotiate their own leases with no oversight. With oversight standards buildings can be better managed affording empty buildings to be considered before new ones are added to the government property portfolio. Repurposing a building puts people to work and makes fiscal sense. Can some of these savings be allocated to support the FBPTA? Certainly makes good business sense to me.
Finally, Washington must get an energy bill on the table in the 113th Congressional session. The last bill was in 2007 which did not have government incentives for building owners.
IFMA will continue to keep us abreast of the developments on Capitol Hill, but the conversation isn’t one-way. The chapter must get involved. We are over five hundred members and we do make a difference in the building environment. We are the experts, a resource to lawmakers, and we vote!
If you are interested in learning more about IFMA’s advocacy efforts, I would love to meet with you. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.