Transparency and Jack Bauer

Yesterday, Thad Juszczak, a director with Grant Thornton LLP, cross-posted an interesting piece he wrote for the AGA blog on March 4, talking about transparency in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (The Recovery Act).

He writes (paraphrasing with his permission) that accountability — someone specific being responsible for achieving performance results– is different from the new push for transparency — making the things you are doing to achieve performance results open and (more important) understandable.

The Recovery Act authorizes agencies to use a small percentage of the funds for tracking and reporting and recovery.org is the portal for data related to the stimulus spending. However, knowing where the money went doesn’t ensure that it was well spent and the funding for transparency doesn’t actually improve any program. And finally, Thad asks, how much transparency do we really want? I can hear Jack Bauer now as he rescues America one more time: “Just tell me what you want, give me the money, and get out of my way.”

What are your thoughts?

How will the new transparency requirements change how federal employees implement and oversee programs?

How will we balance the new workload and still achieve program results?

How can this data be used to improve government programs?

Will allowing greater access to more types of data lead to new innovation for programs like Vivek Kundra’s Apps for Democracy did for DC?

I started a discussion in the Budgeteers Group – but thought there might be others in the larger world of govloop with some ideas here.

Please join the discussion.

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Joe Flood

I’m sure Bauer would get Chloe to hack into recovery.gov to make sure that his disbursements were properly tracked and accounted for, even if he had secretly transferred the funds to handle a Presidential-level security contingency originating from a mysterious global cabal possessing stolen NSA cybertechnology that could bring this country to its knees. Chloe would handle the Sec. 508 compliance, too.