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Stimulus Tracking Site Is Rebooted to Monitor Hurricane Sandy Spending

Destruction in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

Destruction in the wake of Hurricane Sandy // Mike Groll/AP File Photo

The government website built to monitor spending related to President Obama’s $840 billion economic stimulus package announced $2.3 million in contract extensions on Wednesday to keep the site up and running for two more years while it tracks emergency spending related to Hurricane Sandy. and the oversight board that runs it were scheduled to expire at the end of this month after five years on the job.

Congress opted in January to extend the board and website through September 2015 so it could police waste and fraud in grant and contract spending related to the cleanup after Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the New York and New Jersey coasts. The extension was part of the $50 billion Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013.

The contract extensions are aimed at keeping the cloud-based website and the analytics that power it operating for two more years and at refocusing the site on Sandy contracts, said Nancy DiPaolo, chief of congressional and intergovernmental affairs for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.

Despite partisan rancor over the stimulus bill itself, and its overseers have won praise from both sides of the aisle for using uniform contract coding, crowdsourced fraud reporting and complex data analysis to minimize waste and fraud in stimulus contracts.

Stimulus fraud has been estimated at less than 1 percent compared with up to 7 percent for government contracts generally. Congress is considering bipartisan legislation now that would institute lessons learned from the Recovery Board for government generally.

The contract extensions include about $525,000 to SmartTronix, which won an $18 million contract for the current design in 2009. The extensions also include about $1.8 million to HMS Technologies for the website’s accountability module.

Executives from the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board will discuss the technology behind and how they built the architecture for tracking emergency spending at Nextgov Prime in Washington on Oct. 15. Register for the free conference here.

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