Last week, Recovery.gov was honored at the annual GOVTek Awards ceremony with the award for Government Mobile App of the Year.
The other nominees:
- IRS2GO App (IRS)
- MeAnderthal App (Smithsonian)
- Most Wanted App (FBI)
- MyTSA App (Transportation Security Administration)
- White House App (White House)
Sponsored by the Government Technology Research Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development and success of the government IT community, the annual GOVTek Awards celebrate “government and industry IT leaders whose vision, innovation and remarkable accomplishments…have improved the way government delivers services, interacts with citizens, shares information, and protects its national assets,” GTRA’s website says.
The 2012 awards, announced February 2, honored achievements in 2011.
The Recovery.gov Mobile App allows you to see on your iPhone how Recovery funds are being spent in the nation or in your city or state.
In a recent column, Michelle Malkin made a number of misstatements. The Recovery Board takes issue with those statements. The following is the Board’s response e-mailed to her today:
In your recent column, “Porkulus: Cash for Tax Cheats,” you are understandably disturbed by the number of recipients receiving Recovery Act funds despite owing millions in unpaid corporate, payroll and other taxes. So are we. Far from having “patted itself on the back for its transparency,” the Recovery Board would like to stop this sort of egregious break of faith with the taxpaying public, but we cannot do so for two reasons.
First, the Recovery Board does not give out the stimulus money and has no involvement whatsoever in what states, institutions or businesses receive contracts, grants or loans. That is a decision made solely by the 28 federal agencies charged with distributing Recovery funds.
Second, IRS information is confidential, and neither the Recovery Board nor the agency giving out this money has access to information on tax liabilities of a potential recipient. Although the Government Accountability Office was able to review the records of many recipients that owe taxes, you find no names or identifying characteristics in the GAO report. That is because of the confidentiality of this data.
If you had read the GAO report, you would find that the Recovery Board and one of its members, J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, have raised repeatedly the lack of adequate oversight of Recovery spending and tax delinquencies because of this inability to access IRS tax information.
The Recovery Board, in its response, also pointed out that if we had access to this information, we could use unpaid tax data and other related information to create a risk-based model that government agencies could rely on when evaluating potential recipients of federal contracts, grants and loans.
You should also understand that the Recovery Board is not, as you write, “the Obama administration’s stimulus oversight board.’’ Congress created the Board as an independent agency.
We would have gladly discussed these issues and the type of information the Recovery Board can use in identifying potential fraud, waste and abuse of Recovery funds if you had contacted us before writing your column. Perhaps if you better understood the situation, you might have called for a change in the laws and regulations to correct this serious shortcoming rather than incorrectly accusing the Recovery Board of failing “to stop the plundering in the name of job creation.”
Finally, please feel free to publish this letter.
Director of Communications
Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board
There are several places on Recovery.gov to find Recovery information and data for a specific state or county.
For data reported by recipients:
- Download Recovery.gov’s free iPhone or iPad app, which show Recovery projects in your neighborhood as well as at the state and county level and by congressional district.
- Visit the State/Territory Summarieschoose a state to see the total number of awards, the
- Go to the Awards Map and click on a state. You will find the total cumulative dollar amounts for the contract, grant, and loan awards, and the job totals for the quarter in the lower left hand corner.
- The Comparison Maps not only display information by states but also by counties.
- Choose the state and county on the State Data Summary Widget, hit GO and dots showing the awards will appear. You can embed the widget on your website and it will be updated when the data on Recovery.gov is updated.
For data reported by federal agencies:
- See the number of awards by state, in addition tothe total funds awarded and received
- Each agency submits a weekly report with details of their awards to each state.
What specific information about your state or county are you interested in?
While Recovery.gov’s main mission is to display information about Recovery spending and projects, the Recovery Act requires that the site provide “to the extent practical” leads on potential jobs.
To meet this mandate, Recovery.gov has enhanced the site’s job-search capability to include three sources for possible jobs:
- Recovery award recipient websites – This search focuses specifically on jobs listed on websites of prime recipients of Recovery awards.
- State websites – Use the links to connect to your state’s website for job opportunities close to home.
- The Internet – Powered by Indeed.com, this search provides results of job listings from multiple job databases.
Keep in mind, however, that these sites are private and independent from Recovery.gov.
We also suggest looking regularly at the list of Recovery contracts because winners of federal contract awards might be hiring. In addition, take a look at USAJobs.gov for federal employment opportunities across the country, and Careeronestop.org for advice and tools, such as resume templates from the Department of Labor.
We’re always looking for more ways to provide information on job opportunities. If you have suggestions or maybe you’ve heard of Recovery projects hiring in your area, let us know.
Smart planning leads to good results. Nearly a year ago, Recovery.gov became the first government-wide system to move to a cloud computing service. The Recovery Board and its prime contractor, Smartronix, selected the Amazon cloud environment to host Recovery.gov. During the process, we engineered a fail-safe system that would keep Recovery.gov up and running in the event that the Amazon cloud experienced technical difficulties.
Last Thursday, the cloud did, in fact, experience technical problems. Several federal government websites were affected but Recovery.gov was not one of them. Because of our structural safeguards, the cloud remained available to host Recovery.gov. Users on our website were not inconvenienced.
We regularly get questions from those of you who want to know what Recovery opportunities might be available. Recovery.gov has an opportunities page as well as a list of benefits and tax credits that answer many of these questions. But another federal website – Grants.gov – has a page called Recovery Act Money and You!, which provides much more detailed information.
There, you can find out if you, your family, business, organization, or community could be eligible for Recovery funding and/or benefits.