MELBOURNE, FLA.—Florida Tech has earned a $768,000 grant from the Florida State Department of Education for the university’s recently-established Activity Based Total Accountability (ABTA) Institute. The ABTA concept, originated by Florida State Senator William J. Posey, is to provide and promote simplified accountability measures and cost/performance comparisons for effective decision making by government leaders.
“This effort creates transparency in government spending to serve the taxpayer,” says Center Director Deborah Sater Carstens, Ph.D., an associate professor of management information systems in the College of Business. She adds, “Accountability in government is achieved only when total costs are considered in light of all activities performed by agencies. To successfully track total costs requires a standard system of measurement.”
Initial efforts of the institute include five focal areas. First is a best practices data repository for identifying strengths and weaknesses of existing programs; second is Web resources and services, which will offer links to government performance data, agency Web sites, benchmarking sources, white papers, shared data sources and measurement and learning tools; third is training and seminars; fourth is a national database of open standards and metrics for government and public use; and fifth is an ABTA National Conference.
Currently the ABTA is collecting data within the 50 states from government agencies focused on health, corrections, revenue, agriculture, education and transportation. The researchers will focus on the costs for activities in each agency. For example, in the Department of Corrections, a baseline would be created of costs for items such as security, food services, dental care and pharmaceutical products.
The ABTA National Conference is being planned for May 19, 2009, with participation sought by government, academia and industry. For more information, visit www.abta.fit.edu.