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7/14/2009
02:22 PM
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Recovery.gov Development Contract Details Coming

Contractor Smartronix will be responsible for Web develpment, storage, security, disaster recovery, hosting, maintenance, and operation of the Web site.

By Monday, the General Services Administration and Smartronix are expected to release a version of the contract to design and operate recovery.gov, a spokesman for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board said Tuesday.

The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board has been urging GSA and Smartronix to release the Recovery.gov contract, which is worth up to $18 million. Watchdog groups such as OMB Watch and the Sunlight Foundation have begun doing so as well.

"We are not spending this kind of money just to paint a pretty picture," RATB spokesman Ed Pound said in response to some criticism online and from the media that $18 million was too much to spend on designing a Website. "There's a whole heck of a lot of other stuff going on here."

According to a press release and documents the RATB released late Friday, that "other stuff" includes significant infrastructure and operational responsibility. In cooperation with the RATB, Smartronix will be responsible for storage, security, disaster recovery, hosting, maintenance and operation of the Web site and related data.

The initial $9.5 billion outlay to Smartronix will cover redesign and development of Recovery.gov, procurement and installation of hardware and software to host the site, operations, storage and a content management system for the site, among other things.

In a nod to transparency, the RATB also posted a 50-page statement of objectives online Friday, which goes into great detail about the technical requirements for the Recovery.gov contract, describing the required networking and security architecture, high-level user interface requirements, business intelligence and content management capabilities, reporting requirements, and data architecture.

Smartronix won the Recovery.gov contract over two other bidders, SRI International and Accenture, in an accelerated bidding process that only included companies who are part of the multi-vendor Alliant contracting vehicle.

By law, Recovery.gov must be up and reporting stimulus spending in detail by October 10, but Pound said that the normal, full, and open competition process takes an average of 267 days to award a contract. "That's unacceptable and people would be screaming for our heads," he said. Now, the RATB expects the site will be up as early as late August.

Though not well known for developing Websites, Smartronix said in a press release Tuesday that it will be working with digital agency TMP Government and consulting firm Synteractive to design and implement Web 2.0 features in Recovery.gov, including community interaction through features such as blogs and photo uploads. Auditing firm KPMG will be providing support for financial information, policy, reporting and data management.

"We have assembled the best team to meet the contract’s complex requirements and have immediately begun work to meet the Recovery.gov 2.0’s aggressive schedule," Smartronix CEO John Parris said in a statement.

Contractors and other recipients of stimulus money will be required to report their spending via Excel spreadsheets that recipients will upload to the forthcoming FederalReporting.gov.

That site, contracted with CGI Federal as part of another existing contract ith the Environmental Protection Agency, will feed data to Recovery.gov. The Office of Management and Budget is holding a series of Webinars next week for recipients to find out more information about how to report data.


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