By TOM EVSLIN
In March 2009, Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas asked me to become the state’s chief recovery officer, or stimulus czar. Vermont was about to get $1 billion or so in 300 separate and unrelated programs stapled together in the federal stimulus package, aka the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The governor needed someone with start-up experience to manage the money and programs. Before selling my last company and retiring, I’d been a high-tech entrepreneur.
Part of my job was to coordinate stimulus money awarded directly to state government, both to assure that we complied with federal regulations and that we used this one-time money in ways that made sense. Complying with the regulations was the easy part. Using the money well was another story. Although I’d like to think Vermont did better than many states, much of the money ended up continuing bloated programs rather than providing a transition to a sustainable future.
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