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Spring Meeting '09 Summaries



Financial services working group


Tracking the Federal Stimulus

1:30–3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12

As states grapple with the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the role of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in rejuvenating and rebuilding the U.S. economy remains of great interest. While the huge influx of federal stimulus money to state and local governments offset a sharp drop in tax collections, state policymakers face a great deal of responsibility to ensure these federal funds are spent effectively and efficiently, and will build the foundation for broad-based, sustainable economic growth. This session will feature California’s efforts to ensure the proper expenditure of federal stimulus funds as well as some of the broad trends gleaned from the projects initiated under the Recovery Act to date.





Laura N. Chick

California Inspector General


In April, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Laura Chick, former city controller for Los Angeles, as the first-in-the-nation Inspector General to oversee California’s more than $50 billion in economic stimulus money. Chick is the Recovery Act watchdog in California.
Chick received her bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA and a master’s in social work from the University of Southern California. Chick’s first elected position came when she defeated a 16-year incumbent for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council in 1993. In 2001 Chick was elected as the Los Angeles controller, becoming the first woman to hold citywide office in Los Angeles. In that position she served as the city’s chief auditor and chief accountant. During that time, Chick released more than 170 audits and reports exposing waste and fraud, including a report exposing the backlog of untested DNA rape kits at the L.A. Police Department.
Chick’s work recently won her the ProPublica Prize for Investigative Governance from the independent, nonprofit newsroom organization that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.


Mike Pickett

President and Chief Executive Officer of Onvia
Mike Pickett serves as president and chief executive officer of Onvia, a publicly traded company that delivers timely sales opportunities and information to businesses. Onvia has been monitoring stimulus-funded projects and launched a website that tracks “every dime” of Recovery Act spending by federal, state and local government, according to Onvia’s business Web site.
Over the last five years, Pickett has managed, counseled and served on the boards of various Internet and technology-based startups, including ZDTV, College Club and Digital Archaeology. Pickett previously served as chairman, CEO and president of Merisel Inc. Under his direction, the company grew from a $200 million regional distributor of computer products into a $6 billion global corporation.
Pickett also spent 14 years at Deloitte & Touche, rising to partner-in-charge of the emerging businesses practice. He has been named five times to the CRN list of the 25 most influential executives in the high technology industry. Pickett holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California.