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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Washington D.C.

State Recovery Act Website: http://recovery.dc.gov

The District of Columbia's Recovery Act website scored 6 out of 100 possible points (ranking 50th) on Good Jobs First's updated 51-state study of state stimulus websites entitled Show Us the Stimulus (Again). The District earned points for providing project descriptions and dollar amounts.

For detailed scoring information, see the District of Columbia appendix of Show Us the Stimulus (Again).

Coordination & Oversight

The City Administrator, Neil Albert, is the District's ARRA czar. Within his office, Karen Bates and Victor Prince are the Recovery Act coordinators that the 12 workgroups will report to. Neil Albert was appointed as the City Administrator on May 15, 2009 when his predecessor, Dan Tangherlini, joined the Obama Administration. Before this position, Albert was the District's Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

According to Staterecovery.org , "The Council was told that in the mayor's administration, the director of Housing and Community Development would manage new housing spending, the director of the Department of the Environment would manage alternative energy spending and the director of the Department of Transportation would manage infrastructure spending."

According to the GAO report, DC will use its existing financial systems to track and account for how the stimulus funds are being used. This tracking system uses a unique four-digit code that is similar to the way DC tracks and manages its grant funds.

Additionally, the city plans to implement an ongoing accountability program to monitor agency efforts to make sure that funds are being used as intended. According to the GAO report, there are, however, 89 weaknesses to this existing system of controls and the city is unsure if weaknesses can be fixed before stimulus funds are received. As part of this existing accountability program, DC will continue to use CapStat, a performance-based accountability program, to examine the impact of stimulus fund uses.

To assess the impact of stimulus funds, DC plans to use the information in the federal reports required under ARRA. DC will measure economic impacts such as job creation but is waiting for OMB to provide guidance on how to define a job. According to the GAO, the District is also requesting further guidance from OMB about "methods to track indirect impact and how to separate the impact of Recovery Act funds and the impact from other federal funds in programs that receive both sources and use both sources in their (DC's) program implementation."

Policy Debates

With $500 million available nationally to train workers for green jobs, some DC officials are arguing that many local residents lack the skills necessary to compete for this work. Specifically, Council Member Kwame Brown said the city has failed to make job training a priority but the Fenty administration disagrees and says that the city is ready to compete and residents are being trained for green jobs. In August it was reported the District will receive $8.1 million in stimulus funds for weatherization. District residents will be hired to complete the work targeted at providing free energy efficient repairs for low-income households.

In July, the DC Council passed emergency legislation to expand unemployment benefits during a special session. Council members voted unanimously to provide additional benefits to those unemployed workers with dependants, and to unemployed workers who require access to training to improve their skills. As a result of this new legislation, the District qualifies for an additional $18 million in stimulus funds for green job training.

Last updated on: 27 January, 2010

Quick Facts

Population:
591,833

Median Household Income:
$54,317

Unemployment Rate:
11.1%

Poverty Rate:
16.4%

Estimated Recovery Act Funding:
$946 million

Watchdog Groups

DC Fiscal Policy Institute

Resources

DC Fiscal Policy Institute:

What the Economic Stimulus Package Can Do for the District, March 2009; online here.

Expanding District Unemployment Benefits: A Necessary Boost During These Tough Times, August 2009; online here.

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