The federal reporting requirements for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [Recovery Act (2009)] relied heavily on the ability of recipients, primarily state governments, to capture, manage, and deliver the required data. Some New York State (NYS) agencies were able to build on previous reporting experiences, while other agencies were just getting started and were relatively new to federal reporting requirements.
With the support of the NYS Recovery Cabinet, CTG held a series of forums between 2009 and 2010 to facilitate knowledge sharing. The forums were designed to support the exchange of experiences among practitioners with the goal of leveraging existing best and current practices in the use of technology for reporting.
The Obama administration required a strict accounting of all funds spent and the publication of those funds not only to the federal government but also to the public. While the collection of information and reporting mandated by the Recovery Act was not unprecedented, what was new was the:
CTG held three knowledge sharing forums between November 2009 and April 2010. The first forum was in September 2009 and highlighted the NYS Department of Transportation’s (NYSDOT) response to the Recovery Act reporting requirements. A second forum, hosted in November 2009, gave practitioners the opportunity to discuss lessons learned from the October 10th reporting deadline and the challenges of working with sub-recipients. The last forum, held in April 2010, brought to light the changes, challenges, and opportunities for transparency as revealed through the year long Recovery Act reporting experience.
Nancy Mulholland, CIO for the NYSDOT, and Tom Johnston, Manager of the Business Solutions Bureau and IT Lead for the Recovery Act project team for NYSDOT, shared how their agency managed Recovery Act reporting. They were joined by representatives from Oracle, who oversaw the design and implementation of business intelligence tools (a proof-of-concept) with NYSDOT.
The presentation provided an overview of NYS DOT’s approach to Recovery Act reporting including:
Two panels of representatives from New York state agencies presented their experiences, pain points, successes, lessons learned, and plans for moving forward in managing IT as a resource in support of Recovery Act reporting requirements. Each panel presentation was followed by a discussion period.
The first panel addressed their lessons learned while meeting the October 10th reporting requirement.
The second panel addressed the issues and challenges related to sub-recipient reporting.
Theresa Pardo gave a keynote presentation on the new expectations for transparency by the Obama administration. She discussed the challenges public managers face trying to make real-time, comprehensive, information about government activities more available. One driving question was, what does this actually mean for transparency from a data perspective?
A panel discussion with members from different state agencies, fulfilling different roles in the Recovery Act reporting process, shared their insights into how these new demands for transparency impact current practices. The panel specifically focused on the effect of Recovery Act reporting on agencies and how it is defined and how it has changed the way agencies think about data and information.
The morning concluded with a group discussion of the lessons learned over the last year through these forums