White House issues guidance on stimulus bucks

White House officials today told agencies that spending under the new economic stimulus law should be transparent and accountable. A  memo provides agency leaders with information about how to provide spending and performance data to the Recovery.gov Web site.

The 60-page memo from Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag was sent to agency and department heads and states the goal is “To deliver a Web site that allows citizens to hold the government accountable for every dollar spent.”

Eight different levels of reporting are necessary to meet accountability and transparency objectives, according to the memo.

Beginning immediately, all federal agencies receiving stimulus funds should determine which information is appropriate for posting to the Announcements section of Recovery.gov. The announcements must be in a press release format and should provide an overview of the notice’s points.

“Items should be of interest to a broad cross-section of the American public and focus on presidential priorities and programs with a major impact,” the memo states. In addition, agencies should provide notification of any major press events or videos produced that relate to the new law, the document states.

Recovery.gov will feature videos that highlight major actions being taken by the federal government and the effect the law is having for the American people, according to the memo.

A digital version of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is available from the Government Printing Office’s Federal Digital System, that office announced today.

A digital signature on the document ensures it has not been altered, according to the GPO.

“Two key elements in managing federal documents on Federal Digital System are versioning and authentication,” said Public Printer Bob Tapella. “Versioning lets the user know which version of a document is being presented and is important when viewing legislation and draft documents. Authentication is necessary to maintain a chain of custody from author to end user.”

GPO launched Federal Digital System last month.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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