HARRISBURG - Gov. Rendell yesterday tapped a retired executive from Montgomery County to be the state's watchdog over how nearly $10 billion in federal economic-stimulus funding is spent over the next two years.

As the "chief accountability officer," Ronald J. Naples, who retired last fall as chief executive officer of Quaker Chemical Corp., in Conshohocken, will monitor all stimulus spending to ensure the money is used "wisely, effectively, and as quickly as possible," Rendell said.

The governor called Naples, a Republican, "a good, hard-nosed businessman who understands what work is all about."

Rendell said he expected the public to soon see the fruits of the money, which was pouring in from Washington to Harrisburg to boost the economy, create jobs, and provide additional benefits to the unemployed.

"I think it will create a real sense of hope and optimism," the governor said, "as people see men and women going back to work."

Naples, 63, of Wynnewood, is a West Point graduate who served tours with the Army in Vietnam and Germany. He spent 13 years as the top executive at Quaker, a specialty-chemical firm. Before that, he was CEO of Hunt Manufacturing Co., in Philadelphia.

"We are traveling new terrain here," Naples said yesterday of the troubled economy. "It's an important time for our leaders to get it right and for our people to know that they are getting it right."

Naples also will serve on the 14-member Stimulus Oversight Commission created by Rendell three weeks ago. The panel, whose 13 other members are volunteers, will help monitor how the the funding is spent.

In the part-time post, Naples will be paid $120,000 annually out of the stimulus funding.

"We wanted to get an extraordinarily talented and experienced executive, and you are not going to get that for less," said Rendell, who estimated that several aides would be hired as support staff for Naples and the commission. Total administrative spending, he added, will be about $500,000 over the next year.

As CEO of the publicly traded Quaker Chemical, Naples made $682,500 in 2008.

And the board of directors gave him a golden parachute after he announced he would be leaving the company in October. He received a year-end bonus of $642,326 and was kept on as a consultant this year and in 2010. He will make $250,000 annually in that capacity, according to the company's security filings.

Asked whether he couldn't find someone to do the job on a volunteer basis, Rendell said, "You can go out and buy a car or you can ask someone to give you a car.

"My guess is," he said, "if you buy a car, it will run better than a car someone gives you for free."