RECOVERY FUND RECIPIENTS ENCOURAGED TO REGISTER
by Carolyn Coleman
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) calls for all recipients of recovery funds to report on the use of these funds to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (Recovery Board) by October 10. Registration for recipients is well under way on FederalReporting.gov, with nearly 22,000 already registered. However, the Recovery Board strongly encourages those not yet registered to do so immediately to ensure that, when actual reporting occurs between October 1 and October 10, recipients will be able to maximize the efficacy of the reporting system.
The Recovery Board was created by the Recovery Act to oversee the expenditure of recovery funds and bring transparency and accountability to the process. The board consists of a chairman, Earl E. Devaney, and 12 federal inspector generals. The board runs the recovery.gov Web site, which provides information on the recovery initiatives and spearheads an accountability effort that involves both federal and state investigators and enforcement officials.
The Recovery Board recently launched the 2.0 version of the recovery.gov Web site. The redesigned Web site will be both user-friendly and highly interactive and will provide all Americans with an historic level of transpar¬ency on their governments spending. The board decided to launch the redesigned version of recovery.gov earlier than the reporting deadline to allow time for users to become familiar with the Web sites many new features, particularly its enhanced mapping capacity.
The Recovery Act allows recipients and agencies of the federal government to conduct quality reviews of the submitted data between October 11 and October 29. After considerable outreach to recipients and other affected stakeholders, the board is announcing the following schedule and process for displaying recipient data on recovery.gov:
- All reported data associated with recovery contracts awarded directly by federal agencies will be displayed by October 15.
- All reported data associated with recovery grants, loans, and other forms of assistance will be displayed on October 30.
- All data changes made by recipients between October 11 and October 29 will be carefully tracked, chronicled, and made available on recovery.gov shortly after November 1.
According to Devaney, [T]his release schedule mitigates the boards concern that large amounts of uncorrected data could actually harm transparency rather than enhance it.
(Note: This article has been reprinted with the permission of the National League of Cities.)