While EERE project officers lead monitoring activities, the recipients themselves serve an important role by providing the data and insights that are essential to an objective, transparent monitoring process. Key recipient staff have the most immediate exposure to project developments and acutely understand the everyday challenges of turning plans into reality. Each project’s success depends on having well-tuned teams on the government and recipient sides that recognize the value of communication, financial management, and good conduct.
This kind of public-private collaboration was demonstrated in one Recovery Act-funded fuel cells project. Shortly after the recipient was selected, the project manager for the recipient company left for another job. A temporary manager was assigned, but the project did not progress as planned. Through extensive conversations with the recipient, the EERE project officer urged them to assign a permanent manager and get the project back on schedule.
During this time, the project officer conducted financial reviews and noticed the amount of the monthly invoices was higher than expected and pointed this out to the recipient. Additional investigation revealed that $364,000 in materials costs had been incorrectly charged. The recipient resolved the incorrect charges and assigned a new, permanent manager.
Having responded to EERE’s call for a permanent project manager, the project is making substantial progress toward getting back on schedule, and is again better equipped to help monitor certain part of the project. Until the project can show that it’s back on track, however, EERE staff will continue to provide extra oversight and assistance.