At the Department level, the Secretary has appointed the Deputy Chief of Staff as the Department’s Senior Accountable Official. In order to ensure appropriate coordination for implementation of the $28 billion provided to USDA in the Recovery Act, the Senior Accountable Official established the Department of Agriculture Recovery Team (DART). Membership of the DART is comprised of representatives from the Office of the Secretary, each agency that received Recovery Act funding, OIG, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, and the Office of Budget and Program Analysis. The DART meets regularly. The DART provides a forum for agencies to identify best practices and share lessons learned, identify and resolve implementation issues, and provides an opportunity for the Senior Accountable Official to ensure there are no unnecessary delays in implementation.
Within agencies, agency managers are responsible for implementing, improving, and monitoring program activities. The Recovery Act provides funding for existing USDA programs. As a result no significant additions to agency structure or processes are needed for implementation and monitoring. Individual performance plans of managers and employees are tied to their agency mission and goals. Program performance measures, including civil rights compliance, are integrated into managerial performance plans and will be collected on a routine basis. Reports of progress in meeting the performance measures will be provided in timely reports within agencies and will allow for accountability discussions with managers. Monitoring will be done on a frequency that will allow implementation of corrective action as necessary.
Data will be collected from financial systems and IT performance management and monitoring systems. USDA expects to report these metrics on a quarterly basis, but some high priority items may be updated monthly. Data will be collected and reported in accordance with the specified requirements in the Recovery Act reporting guidance.
USDA has established its own website which will report additional information on the Agency’s success in Recovery Act related matters: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/?navid=USDA_ARRA The Forest Service, the Farm Service Agency, the Foreign Agricultural Service, the Food Nutrition Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development, and OIG have established their own websites which are linked to the USDA Recovery Act website. In addition, USDA has created a Geo-spatial map that allows the public to search and review Recovery Act projects: http://www.usda.gov/recovery/map/