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New office created to manage state's fed stimulus funds

Gov. Jim Douglas announced the creation of the Office of Economic Stimulus and Recovery (ESR) to coordinate the state's use of federal funds authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The governor has tapped former Vermont Transportation Secretary and entrepreneur Tom Evslin to head the office. The office will be located in the Vermont Agency of Administration and report to Administration Secretary Neale Lunderville.

The Vermont Federal Recovery Office, which was established in January before the recovery bill became law, has been fully incorporated into ESR. Jim Bush will continue to serve in a leadership role as director of physical infrastructure, responsible for oversight and delivery of the nearly $200 million in new state and local infrastructure projects.

"The scope of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act extends beyond the original intent of Medicaid and transportation funds," said Douglas. "In turn, we have expanded the Federal Recovery Office into the Office of Economic Stimulus and Recovery to ensure the federal money flows into our economy quickly and with strict accountability measures in place."

The Office of Economic Stimulus and Recovery will assist and coordinate efforts of state, community and private organizations to obtain funds for projects that not only alleviate the pain of the current recession but build the infrastructure necessary for Vermonters to succeed in the second decade of the 21st century.

"The Office of Economic Stimulus and Recovery will work at entrepreneurial speed to make certain Vermont obtains all possible funds and gets maximum effect from tight coordination between programs," said Evslin. "As much as possible, we need to use new technology to preserve Vermont values while building the foundation for a strong economy that can compete in a changing world."

The office will be staffed by existing state employees on temporary assignment from agencies and departments.

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