ANNAPOLIS – The passage of the federal stimulus package not only negated the need for Gov. Martin O’Malley to cut 700 state jobs and allowed him to restore proposed education cuts, it gave him a chance to show off a new toy.
O’Malley unveiled a state Web site Friday designed to track the $3.8 billion expected to flow into Maryland from the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The governor spent 30 minutes explaining the site, which was projected on the wall behind him. O’Malley left no question as to his favorite part.
“I’m very proud of this map,” O’Malley said as an aide clicked on various counties on the interactive map feature, prompting graphics to appear highlighting the estimated number of jobs created or saved in each locality.
“Pretty cool, huh?” O’Malley asked.
Leaving the podium several times to point to figures on the screen, O’Malley touted the state’s commitment to being “open, transparent and accountable to the public.”
“Every resurfaced road, every repaired bridge, every local school system that will benefit from the Recovery and Reinvestment funds will be tracked on an interactive map,” he said.
Data-driven assessment has long been a valued tool in O’Malley’s toolbox. As mayor of Baltimore, he launched “CitiStat” using data analysis to more efficiently manage the city’s resources.
As governor, he has developed StateStat and BayStat to review state government functioning and the Chesapeake Bay restoration progress, respectively.
O’Malley showed he appreciates more than just numbers and graphs, though.
“That’s my charming, beautiful television face,” O’Malley joked, referring to his image on the site’s front page.
But O’Malley couldn’t resist going back to the map when discussing the complexity of tracking the massive and complex stimulus expenditures.
“It all relates to the map,” O’Malley said. “The map is what allows us to make sense of all of this and be able to track it.”
A few minutes later a reporter asked him whether the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas will receive a disproportionate amount of money and how he will ensure statewide equity.
“That’s why the map is so important,” O’Malley responded.
As his presentation was winding down and before reporters could ask him about an upcoming Senate committee vote on the proposed death penalty repeal, O’Malley slowed down and looked toward his aides.
“Anything else on here that I’m not aware of?” O’Malley asked. “Any other neat tricks?”
–By Capital News Service’s Dylan Waugh