Recovery Board Gets New Lease on Life

Buried in the Hurricane Sandy relief bill signed by President Obama on Jan. 29 is a new task for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.

The board, created under the 2009 Recovery Act and previously slated to expire Sept. 30, 2013, will now have two extra years to “develop and use information technology resources and oversight mechanisms to detect and remediate waste, fraud, and abuse" in federal spending for Sandy relief, says a provision in the new law, which appropriated a total of $50.5 billion in Sandy funding.

The Recovery Board will coordinate its tracking efforts with the director of the Office of Management and Budget as well as the agency head and inspector general for each of the agencies dispensing relief funds for victims of the late-October superstorm that severely damaged parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The law requires the board to submit quarterly reports to the House and Senate appropriations committees.

"We will carry out our oversight responsibilities with the same dedication we have demonstrated in overseeing the $840 billion economic stimulus program," Kathleen Tighe, the Recovery Board’s chairwoman, said in a statement to Government Executive. "We will work closely with the inspector general community, others in law enforcement, and state officials responsible for monitoring the assistance plan.”

The Recovery Board’s work in minimizing waste and fraud through transparency and technology has been frequently cited as a model for the future of oversight of federal spending.

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