State tracking jobs tied to federal stimulus money, needs more people to audit funds, report says

By Kristi E. Swartz

kswartz@ajc.com

The state has started using an automated system to keep track of jobs created and saved because of federal stimulus money, a federal audit said this week.

Meanwhile, the state auditor and inspector general said they need more people to keep track of stimulus dollars as well as to review contracts and investigate accusations of money being misspent, the Government Accountability Office said in a report, the second one released since stimulus funds were disbursed.

Georgia is one of 16 states and Washington that the Government Accountability Office will follow over the next few years to see how federal stimulus dollars are spent. The GAO picked these states because they hold two-thirds of the nation’s people and will receive two-thirds of the stimulus money.

The American Recovery Reinvestment Act is about creating jobs and pulling the economy out of a recession. It is up to the states and their agencies to keep track of these jobs, though the federal government hasn’t given all of the details on how that should be done.

At this point, Georgia is using an automated system used for financial management to keep track of jobs created and saved, the audit said.

The state also created a Recovery Act Implementation Team, a group of representatives from the planning and budget office, as well as the state’s 31 agencies, charged with making sure federal stimulus money is spent in the right places.

That being said, the GAO report says state resources for oversight of stimulus money “continue to be limited,” saying the state auditor and inspector general want to hire more people to keep track of the money.

The state auditor, which has 140 people assigned to audit the money through fiscal 2011, said his office will need another seven more workers to help with audits for fiscal 2009.

The office needs 16 more people to help with audits for fiscal 2010 and an additional ten more for audits for fiscal 2011, the report said.

Two of the four workers in the state inspector general’s office now have some oversight of stimulus funds, the report said. The inspector general wants an additional five people to make sure agencies are complying with Recovery Act guidelines and to review how funds are being spent.

The staff also would review contracts tied to stimulus money and investigate allegations that money would be misspent, the report said.

13 comments Add your comment

reservoirDAWG

July 9th, 2009
12:39 pm

Yeah. That is really going to work. Obama is a clown.

BW

July 9th, 2009
12:48 pm

Don’t worry reservoirDAWG…we’ll do like the bumper sticker says and not blame you because you voted for McCain/Palin.

reservoirDAWG

July 9th, 2009
12:51 pm

I’m not worried. He’s a one term president and the public will put the house and senate back in republican hands.

Quake

July 9th, 2009
12:52 pm

resevoirDAWG Thou, Sir, Art a Jackass!

GaNative

July 9th, 2009
12:57 pm

Wasn’t it in their hands before Obama and the Dems took over? If my memory server me correctly, things were a mess.

reservoirDAWG

July 9th, 2009
1:15 pm

Quake, why? Because you disagree?

Native, it was and my investments were in much better shape.

reservoirDAWG

July 9th, 2009
1:16 pm

Quake, one more thing. You’re an idiot. If you want to play the name calling game.

JF McNamara

July 9th, 2009
1:19 pm

Actually, Bush was a clown. I laughed at his continual inability to diagnose the ramifications of his poor decisions.

Either way, tracking is a good idea. At least we’ll have a good data to make a pass/fail assessment.

Dan

July 9th, 2009
1:45 pm

why would you think a government agegency tracking the success of a government program will provide good data? Tracking is a great idea but by an outside party. The stimulus is 100% joke and the biggest misnomer I’ve ever heard of

JF McNamara

July 9th, 2009
2:08 pm

There’s pretty good oversight of the stimulus by watch dog groups given all of the media attention. I don’t think we’ll have a problem with erroneous or dubious reporting.

No one thinks the stimulus is an 100% joke. Even the most stringent opponents will admit by their criteria it is at least 50% stimulus. You can’t think that tax relief is not stimulus as a Republican, because that’s all Republicans ever talk about. That is 36% of the stimulus package.

Stop getting your opinions from the radio and actually try to understand what’s going on. Here’s a link to the stimulus page to get you started. Most of the stuff will pay dividends via jobs now and through use later.

http://www.recovery.gov/?q=content/investments

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David Pinckney

July 10th, 2009
9:39 am

Yes and GDOT is stretching it’s furloughed workers to the breaking point. More tracking and accountability with fewer people whom the state is taking money from. I feel like they are trying to stimulate the economy with “My” money.

GA Tebow

July 10th, 2009
10:46 am

This looks like a Government Socialized Spending Program without a doubt. Isnt it strange that the United States is losing jobs at the average rate of 500K + per month and the unemployement rate is 4% higher than anticipated. So the stimulas package is set up for politicans to allow pet projects that actually do nothing for the american public. Unlike that Bridge to no where in Alaska that Palin refused to fund. Looks to me like doing the right thing has become so unpopular that it makes you look like a crook to support right, and a hero that supports un-funded mandates and unrealistic spending. This will only allow or future generations a guarentee that they will owe the federal government 150 thousand dollars before they even enter the work force, if in fact there is a work force to enter.