The first guest speaker in Esri's Senior Executive Seminar was the Honorable Earl Devaney, Chairman of the Obama administration's Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board that was established at the outset of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Recovery board's public face was the Recovery.gov portal that provided how and where stimulus dollars were being spent.
Devaney said that he hoped that his work at the recovery board could become the model for tracking spending within the government. His personal observations about transparency was that transparency can cause embarrassment that can cause self-correcting behavior. He felt that transparency played a special role in helping to find the most worthwhile projects in which to spend money.
"When people know they are being watched they conform their behavior to make them look better, therefore they behave better," he said. He sees that when their decisions were being observed they were careful about where the money was being spent. "Transparency drives accountability ... transparency is the friend of the enforcer and the foe of the fraudster, " said Devaney. He felt that Recovery.gov was a step toward creating FEDSTAT ... in the mold of previously successful programs called STATESTAT and CITISTAT.