MARQUETTE - A member of the Marquette school board is helping to oversee how federal stimulus money will be distributed and used in the Upper Peninsula and the rest of Michigan.
"This is an opportunity for me and more so for the U.P. to oversee the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding," said Tony Retaskie of Marquette. "It's a huge responsibility."
Retaskie was asked by Gov. Jennifer Granholm to be one of six members on the Michigan Economic Recovery Oversight Board that will ensure the ARRA funds will be properly dispersed and used in Michigan. Retaskie is the only U.P.representative.
"I think it's a great honor and I'm humbled by the folks of Gov. Granholm's office to ask me," he said. "I'm really proud to say that we have a Yooper representative on the committee."
The three-year commitment means meeting about four times a year and making reports on how ARRA funds are used in the state to the Michigan Economic Recovery Office, Retaskie said.
So far, he said he has only met the other representatives via a telephone conference, yet a face-to-face meeting is planned in the next 30 to 60 days.
"I'm really pleased," Retaskie said. "I really look forward to the work."
As far as how the committee will go about overseeing fund disbursement, Retaskie said that is not clear yet.
"I'm not sure if they're going to divide us into regions," he said.
The ARRA was signed into law in February and provides tax benefits and federal assistance to state agencies such as health and human services, education, energy efficiency, housing, transportation, science and technology and unemployment benefits.