Do NC stimulus jobs add up?

Classified section of a newspaper

November 20, 2009 10:13:47 PM PST
Governor Bev Perdue claims the federal stimulus program has created 28,000 jobs; however ABC11 Eyewitness News has learned the numbers don't necessarily add up. One of the key numbers in the hundreds of stimulus projects that are underway or planned for North Carolina is jobs.

A handful of employers getting stimulus money say most of them are not creating the number of jobs that government figures suggest.

On North Carolina's recovery Web site, ncrecovery.gov, there are all sorts of information about the stimulus, but there is not really information about specific jobs created.

That information can be found in detail on the federal recovery Web site, www.recovery.gov

However, some of the information appears to be incorrect.

In Henderson, it says money has been allotted for three new police officers.

But the police chief there says he can't spend that money until he's at full staff. That means he has to hire eight new police officers before he can spend a dime of the stimulus money. And he says that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

Gaines Construction out of Knightdale received money to repave the parking lot at the Durham VA Hospital and according to state numbers, should be able to hire five workers because of it. But the company says it may hire one person.

And a Florida company was awarded a contract to do work on the Ashville VA Hospital -accounting for eight jobs, but the company says it will hire only two to three workers for only two months.

Perri Morgan with the watchdog group The Capitol Monitor says the examples show that there is not enough being done to track the money.

"We'd like to see them not just handing out money but also doing follow-ups and finding out how many jobs have been created with that money specifically," Morgan said.

A spokeswoman for the state's recovery office says the governor got the number of jobs -28,730- directly from the federal government, which is the stimulus program's clearing house.

As for oversight, it falls to the federal government, but North Carolina is one of 16 states designated to receive extra scrutiny on how stimulus dollars are spent.

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