Acquisition workforce looms large at initial stimulus meeting

During the first economic stimulus plan implementation meeting, top officials identified the shortage of acquisition employees as a significant challenge in disbursing funds efficiently and responsibly.

Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, said while the amount spent on contracting has increased dramatically since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, procurement staffing levels have remained steady.

"That will be a major challenge for all of the secretaries to address, to make sure that the staff is available to make this happen quickly and to monitor it once it goes out," Devaney said.

Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag encouraged Cabinet officials to determine the number of contracting officers and other acquisition personnel necessary to ensure money is moving quickly and is being spent as it was intended.

Devaney, Orszag and Vice President Joe Biden stressed the transparency and accountability requirements of the law. Orszag said is receiving 3,000 hits a second, indicating intense public interest in implementation of the stimulus package.

Biden, who is coordinating and overseeing the plan, said he would be "a bit of a pain in the neck" and would demand that agency officials attend weekly implementation meetings. He also urged agency heads to communicate challenges as they arise.

"You've got to let me know what roadblocks you encounter," Biden said. "You've got to let me know any way that, through the vice president's office, I can clear the way of some of the bureaucratic structures you're running into."

Devaney said the focus of stimulus watchdogs must shift to prevention on the front end, rather than looking into problems once they've already occurred.

"I was encouraged last week to attend a meeting of all of the IGs that have stimulus money in their departments, and was delighted to see that everybody seems to be focusing on trying to prevent waste and fraud, as opposed to just simply detecting it and doing investigations and audits," he said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.