Morning News Update 04.03.09

CivSource Morning News Update 04.03.09

Doing the state of Virginia a solid…Who’s Broadband is it anyway?…Indian-Giving out in Wisconsin….Can you hear me know, asks Maryland First Responders….Recovery.gov is a disaster, says Senators…

Virginia’s Governor Timothy Kaine is “quietly asking” some of the state’s IT service suppliers to roll back their rates by 10 percent due to budget cutbacks, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports today. Small business vendors are in an uproar, “This is not acceptable if you, in fact, want small business to succeed,” says Smart Resources Inc. owner Van Williams. But the $2 billion gorilla in the room, Northrop Grumman, is mum on the subject, refusing to comment, according to the Times-Dispatch.

State utility commissioners and tech companies are fighting over $7 billion in broadband stimulus funds, The Hill reports. “Two little-known federal agencies will be responsible for the deployment of broadband access under the stimulus package: the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) under the Commerce Department,” according to the Capitol Hill publication. But state government officials want a greater say in where the money goes.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is going to have pay back $112,943 due to a computer glitch found by the state’s Legislative Audit Bureau, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found. According to the auditors, other glitches found include improper billings and delayed reimbursement requests in a review that sorted out $10 billion in federal aid the state received in FY 2007-08.

Baltimore County has begun a two-year, $57 million project to upgrade its aging public-safety radio network, according to the Baltimore Sun. The deal will include ten new digital towers and conversion of eight existing analog towers. Police and Fire officials would be the primary benefactors, but other Maryland Emergency Management Agency personnel would be able to use the network as well.

For those of you out there looking to model your state’s recovery Web site after the current Recovery.gov, skip it says Senators of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Government Executive reports that Sens. Clair McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) think the site is hard to search for contracts and grants, arguing it should be more like USASpending.gov. Earl Devaney, head of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board said they plan to have an electric town hall meeting so the public can offer their suggestions and then the panel will hire “an outside entity to conduct an independent review” and “a vendor to help build a new Recovery.gov.”

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