Annual Conference Guidelines

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ASPA chapters within the boundaries of SECoPA are eligible to bid on hosting the annual SECoPA conference.  The chapter may partner with a local government entity or a local university in making the proposal, but all commitments must be made in the name of the ASPA chapter.  The proposal must be signed by the President of the chapter and a principal of any partner.  The proposal commits the ASPA chapter to certain legal requirements.  The chapter will be responsible for all financial commitments.  Since the conference will receive and disburse in excess of $5,000, the chapter must also submit the proposal to the National ASPA Executive Director for review.


The Site Selection Committee will be composed of no less than three members with previous SECoPA conference experience. The Committee will recommend the conference site two years in advance.  The call for proposals will be provided at the current year’s conference and sent to all chapter presidents at a minimum within one month after the current year’s conference ends. Appropriate deadlines will be established for proposal submissions.  The proposed site(s) will be submitted to the SECoPA Board at its mid-year Board meeting for approval.



It is hoped that every chapter within SECoPA will take the opportunity to host an annual conference.  When two or more chapters are located in a state, co-hosting may be proposed.  Inasmuch as practical, the conference should rotate among states and different parts of the Southeast, within the SECoPA region.


Normally, it is expected that SECoPA will be held the first or second week of October.  The local chapter is responsible for identifying any major events in the local area that would cause competition for travel and other arrangements. Under no circumstances, will the conference conflict with religious or federal holidays.


SECoPA’s track record helps each succeeding conference to obtain excellent room rates.  Room rates plus tax, around $100 per night are preferable. SECoPA typically uses between 200 and 250 room nights for each conference (NOT rooms per night, but total room nights).

Space for four concurrent sessions plus a ballroom or equivalent for 2-4 meal functions, and one reception should be available.  One complimentary room night for every 50 room nights should be available.  A small room that accommodates about 25 people should be available for two SECoPA Board meetings

Parking should be free or at a nominal charge.

Registration space along with exhibit space for 10 to 20 exhibitors should be available.


The city should be easily reached by car or reasonable air fare.  Service between airport and hotel should be readily available.


It is important that the host chapter be active in its local arrangements and indicates current members willing to commit the time and energy needed to plan and implement the conference.  If partners will be assisting, their commitment should be in writing as to what they will do.

The host chapter must agree to abide by all the guidelines in this document.


The ASPA chapter will appoint a General Conference Chair with the appropriate resources who will be responsible to coordinate with the chapter and any partners.



The success or failure of the annual conference depends chiefly on the planning and management by the General Conference Chair so this person must have the resources to devote a significant amount of time in the first 2-3 months of planning and in the last 2-3 months of implementation.  The General Conference Chair is required to:

1.  Appoint a Program Committee of not less than six professionally recognized individuals from government and academia around the region.  This committee will be responsible for developing the program theme and tracks, call for proposals, review of proposals, and final selection of program topics/panels.  The call for proposals should be mailed no later than the last week of January or first week of February.

2.  Appoint a Local Arrangements Committee to handle local logistics for the conference including registration.  This committee will be responsible for developing a contract with the conference hotel, coordinating with the Program Committee on space needs, arranging transportation for off-site activities, invitations to VIP speakers, signage, printing of all advertising and program, and registration at the conference.  The registration announcement and preliminary program information should be mailed no later than July 1 with a cut-off date two weeks prior to the start date of the conference.

3.  Appoint a Treasurer for the conference, preferably not the local chapter treasurer, who will open a bank account in the name of the conference and keep records on revenue and expenses of the conference.  An assistant treasurer may be appointed to assist with the record keeping and registration forms.

4.  Appoint a Sponsorship Committee with a goal of raising $5,000 – $10,000 from local and regional sources.

5.  Provide the following reports to the SECoPA Chair –

a.  Within one month of the conference award notification, provide the names with contact information of the chairs of each of the committees and the Treasurer.

b.  Within three months of the conference award notification, provide copy of proposed final hotel contract.  No contract shall be signed until approval is received from the SECoPA Chair.

c.  Within six months of the conference award notification, provide the proposed theme and tracks for approval by the SECoPA Board.

d.  Within six months of the conference award notification, provide a timeline (schedule) for program call, deadline for submission of proposals, selection and approval process, preparation of advertising to be used at current year conference and National ASPA conference, and registration information and deadline.

e.  Twice per year, prepare a comprehensive report regarding all aspects of the conference planning for the SECoPA Board meetings.

f.   Update periodically on any material changes to the conference.

g.  Three months prior to the conference start date, advise the SECoPA Chair of any problems not already addressed and solved.

h.  Two months prior to conference start date, provide to the SECoPA Chair on a weekly basis the number of registrations received. Three weeks prior to conference start date, provide the information on a more frequent and mutually agreed upon schedule.

i.   30 days after the end of the conference, provide a preliminary financial report.

j.   No later than 90 days after the conference, submit final conference report including a detailed financial report.

6.  Recruit a minimum of 20 volunteers to staff the conference.  Volunteers are needed to assemble attendee packets, register attendees as they arrive, welcome visitors, provide information on local area highlights, host local dine arounds, assist with last minute copying and A-V needs, pick up VIPs, and any additional last minute needs.

7.  Schedule periodic meetings with each of the committees.

8.  Arrange a reception at the prior year’s conference.  Information regarding possible venues for the reception for can be obtained from the prior year host chapter or SECoPA Chair.


No mass advertising is done on a future SECoPA conference until after the upcoming conference is over.  The next year’s conference can be printed in schedules.  The next year’s conference will be displayed prominently in the final program of the current year’s conference.

A reception given by the next year’s host chapter on one evening coordinated with the current host chapter is strongly desired.  It is primarily for the purpose of socializing and getting to know the core group of participants in SECoPA.

Flyers containing the program theme and any deadlines that have been established should be available for the registration packets of the current year’s conference.  Other “goodies” may be available from the Convention/Visitors Center to help advertise the conference city.

As soon as any information is available, it should be provided to national ASPA headquarters for print in PATimes and on the ASPA web site.  ASPA also provides one free quarter page advertisement.  The best time to use this is between the Call for Proposals mailing and the Registration mailing.

Flyers and other advertising materials should be available at the National ASPA conference in the spring.

Maintaining contact with the chapter presidents in SECoPA and the District III National Council members about key deadlines is another way to advertise the conference.


Registration fees are recommended by the host chapter with final approval by the SECoPA Board.

As soon as the Treasurer has been appointed and has opened a bank account, this information should be provided to the SECoPA Chair and Treasurer.

An interest free loan of up to $2,000 is available to each host chapter once they have been approved to host a conference.  The loan is due and payable with the preliminary financial report (within 30 days of the end of the conference).

After any SECoPA loan is repaid, net revenues (i.e., remainder of gross conference proceeds less expenses and write-offs) will be split on a tiered basis as follows:

$1 to $2,500:  50% to SECoPA, 50% to the host chapter;

$2,501 to $5,000: 40% to SECoPA, 60% to the host chapter;

$5,001 and higher: 30% to SECoPA, 70% to the host chapter.


a. Conference net revenue of $2,300:  $1,150 to SECoPA, $1,150 to the host

b. Conference net revenue of $3,800: On first $2,500; $1,250 to SECoPA, $1,250 to the host; on the remaining $1,300 net proceeds, $520 to SECoPA, $780 to the host chapter.

c. Conference net revenue of $7,400:  On first $2,500; $1,250 to SECoPA, $1,250 to the host chapter; on next $2,500, $1,000 to SECoPA, $1,500 to the host chapter; on remaining $2,400, $720 to SECoPA, $1,680 to the host chapter.

A final financial report will be submitted to the SECoPA Chair and treasurer at the same time.  This remittance and report are due no later than 90 days after the ending date of  the conference.

The conference treasurer should make periodic financial reports to the General Conference Chair as to whether revenue is received as expected.  If difficulties are identified, the SECoPA Chair and Treasurer must be advised immediately so that appropriate measures may be taken.

Losses incurred by the host chapter must be thoroughly discussed with the SECoPA Chair and Treasurer.  The chapter is responsible as long as the chapter has assets; depending on the nature of the loss, SECoPA and ultimately national ASPA may be involved.


Awards – Boorsma and Practitioner award winners receive complimentary registration. SECoPA will rebate actual costs to the host chapter. Kline and Collins award winners receive complimentary student registration, up to two winners per award. Pugliese award winner receives no complimentary registration.

National – one complimentary registration and one complimentary room is provided to a representative from the national ASPA organization. SECoPA will rebate actual costs for this to the host chapter if required.

Other waivers must be agreed between the general conference chair and the SECoPA chair.


SECoPA and the local host chapter share responsibility for the conference.  A representative from the local chapter AND a representative from SECoPA will BOTH sign the hotel contract to acknowledge both groups’ responsibility.

As a part of the national ASPA organization, the host chapter, if deemed in good standing (all required reporting has been made to National ASPA), is covered under ASPA’s insurance policies.  Many hotels will ask for insurance information. It can be obtained from the ASPA Executive Director.

(Adopted by SECoPA Board June 2, 2005)

(Amended by SECoPA Board October 5, 2005; December 11, 2008; October 13, 2010)