Where to find stimulus contracts
A company that offers outsourcing services to federal and state governments got a a contract award for $2.8 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — the stimulus — to set up call centers for the FCC’s digital transition effort; they advertised for jobs paying $16.38 an hour in Buffalo, N.Y. The Dept. of Health and Human Services spent $326,000 in stimulus funds to purchase and install 98 workstations (and an option to store them until needed at a cost of $35 per pallet); a Midland, MI-based company, Space, Inc., got the sale. And the General Services Administration used stimulus funds to hire a pair of Northern Virginia contractors to help oversee the hiring of contractors bidding for both stimulus and non-stimulus work.
The information on federal contracts awarded under the stimulus comes not from the recovery sites of individual agencies or from the Office of Management & Budget or Recovery.gov, but from a government Web site called FedBizOpps.gov, which is used by federal procurement officers and private firms to track federal opportunities. The site currently lists 566 active and archived awards, which can be accessed through the advanced search page (to get the complete list, go to “Documents To Search” and choose “Both,” then to Opportunity/Procurement Type and select Award Notice, then scroll down to the bottom of the page, and under “Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action,” and click yes).
FedBizOpps isn’t the easiest site to maneuver in. The results page doesn’t list the name of the contractor that got the award or the amount of money — one has to drill down into each result to get those details.
It is unclear when that information will be made available, in a more user friendly format, on Recovery.gov. That site’s time line used to list May 20 as the date on which agencies were “to begin reporting their competitive contracts and grants.” After we made inquiries to different agencies about exactly what information would be released on that date, it was removed from the time line. (Click the screen capture below to see the original version.)
USASpending.gov has also begun offering information on stimulus spending (here, for example, one can view stimulus contracts granted by congressional district to date, while this table tracks grants awarded by state), but the contracting information does not appear to be as current as that on FedBizOpps.gov (for example, as of this writing, there was no result for Space — which sold the office furniture to DHHS — in USASpending.gov.
The next milestone to keep an eye on is July 10, 2009, when recipients of stimulus funding will start reporting information to the federal government on how they’re using funds, according to the pair of implementing guidance memos that OMB issued.