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Stimulus job tallies challenged

GAO says formula yields inflated numbers

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The U.S. Energy Department's account of how many jobs it created with stimulus funds is "confusing and potentially misleading," according to the Government Accountability Office.

Topic: Savannah River Site
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"DOE has used three different methodologies to assess and report jobs created, which provide very different and potentially misleading pictures of jobs created," the report said. "For example, the calculations ranged from about 5,700 jobs to 20,200, depending on the methodology used."

The department received $6 billion in stimulus dollars to be spread among 17 federal sites with the intention of accelerating environmental cleanup projects that could be completed years ahead of schedule, while also creating thousands of new jobs.

Savannah River Site's $1.615 billion allocation was the second-largest in the nation. The largest sum -- $1.633 billion -- went to the Hanford Site in Richland, Wash.

The GAO said department officials correctly calculated job-creation numbers with the protocol specified by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, using a "prime contractor full-time equivalent" measure.

Using that figure, the GAO said, 5,655 jobs had been created as of March 31, including 1,389 at SRS.

"DOE, however, has chosen to also use two additional methodologies to calculate and publicly report job creation figures, which potentially provides a misleading picture of actual jobs created," the report said.

One of those figures is the sum of "prime contractor plus subcontractor full-time equivalent" positions, and a third method involved a "cumulative head count" that includes all workers who have participated in any portion of stimulus-funded projects, even if they were part time or provided a one-time service.

Using those calculations, the GAO said, the 5,655 jobs rose to 10,018 with the "prime contractor plus subcontractor" method, and totaled 20,266 jobs under the "cumulative head count."

At SRS, those numbers increased from 1,389 to 2,258 and 3,356, respectively, the report said.

"DOE frequently publicizes all three figures to represent the employment impact of Recovery Act funding on communities near DOE cleanup sites, without explaining how the figures were calculated," the GAO said. "But only full time equivalents for prime contractors are counted in a manner that can be compared with other federal recipients of Recovery Act funds."

Ines Triay, the department's assistant secretary for environmental management, said in response to the report that her department is taking steps to make job creation figures clearer "and articulate this to the public" to avoid future confusion.

In its detailed comments, DOE said that it has posted guidance on its Web site regarding the methodologies used to calculate job-creation figures and will also include a one-page explanation sheet with job numbers presented to stakeholders or the public.

GAO officials said they "reworded this recommendation to enhance its clarity."

Although they raised questions on job creation figures, auditors concluded that the department is meeting most of its goals.

"The department has made progress toward completing cleanup projects and the majority, although not all, of these projects appear to be meeting cost and schedule targets," the report said. "In carrying out its Recovery Act work, DOE has implemented additional steps to address familiar contract and project management challenges, by providing stricter controls over how and when funds are disbursed to cleanup sites, increasing reporting requirements, and paying greater attention to project oversight."

Recommendations from the GAO

- Clarify the methodology used to calculate any supplemental job creation figures in addition to prime contractor and subcontractor full-time equivalents, such as head count -- that is, workers who have charged any amount of time to Recovery Act projects -- so that users of this information fully understand what each number represents.

- Develop clear, quantifiable and consistent measures for determining the impact of Recovery Act funding on environmental risk. As part of this effort, clearly define what the DOE footprint consists of, determine how changes to the footprint will be measured and ensure that all DOE sites report changes to their footprint in a consistent and comparable manner.

- Ensure that savings estimates over the life of the cleanup projects are calculated according to Office of Management and Budget and Energy Department guidance, so that these estimates accurately represent potential savings and reflect costs adjusted for both inflation and the time value of money.

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gijoe7898
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gijoe7898 08/10/10 - 12:34 am
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Hiring public sector

Hiring public sector employees is a smoke screen to cover private sector shortcomings. It can't continue. Obama is trying to stuff the jobs "ballot box". Lets just all come together this Nov and start the taking back of our country from those who wish to make this great nation something it is not.

omnomnom
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omnomnom 08/10/10 - 01:40 am
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isn't speculation

isn't speculation (bankers',governments', investors', home buyers) part of the reason the S hit the Fan, financially speaking? The department of energy has continuously failed its 1970s mandate to wean the country off of foreign oil.. doesn't surprise me they can't freaking count.

Nightwing
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Nightwing 08/10/10 - 02:34 am
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Sounds like a whole lot of

Sounds like a whole lot of government double speak.

Asitisinaug
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Asitisinaug 08/10/10 - 02:36 am
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The Government Agencies can't

The Government Agencies can't even come to a consensus. We need LESS government spending, fewer federal government jobs and must do whatever is necessary to get our budgets and spending back under control. This liberal administration and 6 years of a democratically controlled congress along with the policis of Freddie Mac and Fannie May under the leadership of Frank and others is what got us in this mess and is keeping us heading down the wrong path. Tax and Spend is all they know how to do while at the same time trying to avoid properly paying their own taxes.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 08/10/10 - 04:44 am
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Remember the East Anglia

Remember the East Anglia Climate Research wording? Remember the firewalls erected by the Clinton administration to separate information sharing between police agencies? Remember the "smaller is larger" and "less is more" promotions on the t.v. adds? Remember how punishing good behavior and rewarding bad behavior is really "fair redistribution of wealth"?

Is this less than truthful report regarding the stimulus any less manipulative?
Has it dawned on any of you lefties that these reports are confusing and misleading because the simple truth would be so damning?

wafflehead
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wafflehead 08/10/10 - 05:39 am
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And to think, these are the

And to think, these are the people that are going to run our healthcare.

wafflehead
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wafflehead 08/10/10 - 05:39 am
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And to think, these are the

And to think, these are the people that are going to run our healthcare.

dani
12
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dani 08/10/10 - 07:17 am
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Lord, I thank you that

Lord, I thank you that nothing is going to happen to me today that you and I can't handle together.

Richmnd Cty Votr
1
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Richmnd Cty Votr 08/10/10 - 07:48 am
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South Carolina's highest

South Carolina's highest court says SCE&G
customers should not have to pay for a contingency fund to cover
costs the company may incur while building nuclear reactors.
I hope Georgia's highest court says the same thing about Southern Company-Vogtle's 2 new units!

sdenreed
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sdenreed 08/10/10 - 08:01 am
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They hired my husband and he

They hired my husband and he was out there less than a year. How can they justify training people for months and months and paying for the training for a job that they cannot do anywhere else and then laying them off? I guess cause they are the Government.

stillamazed
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stillamazed 08/10/10 - 08:05 am
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I was listening to a report

I was listening to a report last week that stated that state stimulus money had created short term jobs to make it seem like everything was improving but with the stimulus money already running out those jobs are ending, if that is the case then what good did the stimulus money really do? Just another smoke and mirrors trick I guess.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 08/10/10 - 08:11 am
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Sounds like the DOE has

Sounds like the DOE has countyman counting and touting their numbers.

Doesn't matter what it smells or looks like, they just throw some pickles in it and call it chicken salad.

TheFederalist
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TheFederalist 08/10/10 - 08:33 am
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I find all the outrage

I find all the outrage amusing, as this is the same thing they have done since the beginning with the stimulus. Create a slush fund of 787 BILLION dollars, and then spend the next 18 months spinning the fantastic fantasy of how this boondoggle actually, "created of saved" millions of jobs!!! WOW! We the unwilling, led by the unknowing....

55 F-100
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55 F-100 08/10/10 - 04:42 pm
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Smoke and mirrors and out and

Smoke and mirrors and out and out lies from the masterful snake-oil salesman, Prezbojangles.......vote out the obamazombies in November 2010, and evict Prezbojangles et family in 2012. It will be a delight when we are no longer subjected to the television ads by the hideously offensive she-devil Michelle.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 08/10/10 - 07:32 pm
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Doesn't mean much really does

Doesn't mean much really does it?

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