NASHVILLE - Gov. Phil Bredesen has put a certified public accountant in charge of ensuring Tennessee sensibly spends billions of federal stimulus dollars.
"Proper administration of these funds really is critical and what I'm doing today is announcing we've formalized a structure to make sure that Tennessee uses funds wisely and as intended," Gov. Bredesen said.
Charles Harrison, who since 1985 has served as assistant to the state comptroller, will now become special assistant for the Tennessee Recovery Act Administration, the governor announced.
"He brings all the right skills to this task, and I'm happy to have him aboard," Gov. Bredesen said.
Mr. Harrison said he is "looking forward to the challenges that are ahead in providing transparency and accountability as we go about implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."
Mr. Harrison will lead a team that includes direct and indirect staff. The governor said several State Planning Office staffers who followed the stimulus legislation through Congress will worked directly under Mr. Harrison.
"We are going to work to get these funds out as quickly as possible," Gov. Bredesen said. "Obviously, families are continuing to struggle during these tough times."
Latest figures show Tennessee will get about $4.5 billion over the next two years from the federal stimulus package, which President Barack Obama hopes will help jumpstart a national economy mired in what may be the worst recession since 1982.