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Rell Appoints Stimulus Obudsman

HARTFORD — Gov.  M. Jodi Rell today announced that she is appointing a top Office of Policy and Management official to work closely with municipalities and regional planning organizations to help them expedite their stimulus-funded projects and navigate the regulations and tight deadlines required under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The governor said OPM Undersecretary of Intergovernmental Policy David LeVasseur will serve a stimulus ombudsman to local and regional officials. LeVasseur has overseen the state Office of Responsible Growth since its inception in 2006. The former First Selectman of Killingworth, LeVasseur has an extensive background as a planner and a conservationist.

“David certainly understands the hurdles local governments and planning agencies must deal with on a daily basis,” Rell wrote in a July 13 letter to municipal officials. “As we have discovered, utilizing Recovery Act funds comes with many challenges, and at times, some frustration. In particular, using stimulus money means applying the letter of the federal law in every step of the project. David’s duties will include helping our municipal partners navigate the ARRA requirements and deadlines and provide clarity every step of the way.”

Since President Obama signed the stimulus act into law on February 17, 2009, more than $1 billion in stimulus funds have been committed to projects and initiatives around the state. Additionally, the governor’s staff and other Administration officials have held workshops, informational forums and have briefed numerous interested organizations and municipal representatives to assist them in identifying funding opportunities and understanding ARRA requirements.

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