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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

New programs help federal workers weed out wasteful payouts

The Obama administration and Congress are trying to stop such waste and abuse, and federal employees are a key part of that effort. Although the subject of a hearing Tuesday by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on federal financial management was "transforming government through innovative tools and technology," the role of workers was not overlooked.

Earl E. Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, cited "the board's skilled analysts" who detect fraud using advanced technology, including computer software to search "colossal amounts of data."

The Recovery Board has become something of a poster child for doing things well in this area. Its job is to make sure the $787 billion in Recovery Act funding, much of it for infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy, isn't wasted.

"Working with inspectors general from 29 federal agencies, the Recovery Board has successfully provided both transparency and accountability for these funds," subcommittee Chairman Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) said in his opening statement. "In fact, they've done such a good job, the president has told them to take their show on the road" by expanding their techniques to Medicare and Medicaid.
Instead of each agency collecting data from its Recovery Act recipients, the Recovery Board and the OMB created a centralized system, http://federalreporting.gov. Devaney said the board also built "a state-of-the-art command center" to keep track of Recovery Act loans, grants and contracts.

-Joe Davidson, WashingtonPost.com

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