Recovery Board announces schedule for data release
All Recovery Act contract spending by federal agencies will be made publicly available by Oct. 15.
On Monday, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board announced the schedule for displaying spending data on the revamped Recovery.gov. The site will publish contracts issued directly by federal agencies by Oct. 15, while grants, state-issued contracts, loans and other forms of assistance will be available for viewing on Oct. 30.
The redesigned Recovery.gov will launch at the end of September, the board said, to allow users to become familiar with the site's new features, including its enhanced mapping capacity.
The Recovery Act requires all recipients of stimulus funds to report on their spending between Oct. 1 and Oct. 10. But recipients will be allowed to review and make necessary changes to the data from Oct. 11 through Oct. 29. The board will track those changes and make that information available shortly after Nov. 1.
"This release schedule mitigates the board's concern that large amounts of uncorrected data could actually harm transparency rather than enhance it," said Earl Devaney, Recovery Board chairman.
Thus far, nearly 22,000 Recovery Act recipients have registered with FederalReporting.gov, the central data collection system that will feed the information into Recovery.gov. But the Office of Management and Budget is concerned that a significant number of recipients have failed to register, potentially skewing the early spending totals.
"Current recipient registration is below expected levels, which may lead to underreporting as the Oct. 10 deadline approaches," OMB Director Peter R. Orszag wrote in a governmentwide Sept. 11 memo. "To encourage more timely and extensive registration, federal departments and agencies are to immediately identify Recovery Act award recipients for each Recovery Act program they administer and conduct outreach and assistance actions."
Orszag instructed agencies to make phone calls, conduct webinars, send e-mail alerts or post information on list servs before the Oct. 10 deadline. The initial focus, he said, should be on reaching out to recipients of the largest dollar value awards.
The federal government also will provide assistance in meeting the reporting requirements to states and local governments, Orszag wrote.
Each agency must assign one primary and one backup Washington-based, high-volume coordinator who will participate in conference calls and attend meetings on reporting-related issues. Agencies also must designate a minimum of eight field-based liaisons to assist in-person state and local governments.
One agency official will be named the point of contact to the Recovery Board for service desk questions. This official, Orszag said, must be available to address recipient reporting questions and provide answers within 24 hours.