Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bloomberg Continues Doing Business With CityTime Crooks

The NY Times finds Bloomberg isn't all that upset that a crooked company will continue to run the CityTime payroll system, though City Controller John Liu is:

An independent report warns that New York City could be too reliant for the foreseeable future on the company that has built the troubled and expensive CityTime automated payroll system.

The report, dated Jan. 12 and prepared by the KPMG consulting firm, says that unless the company, Science Applications International Corporation, known as SAIC, provides detailed instructions and other critical plans explaining how to operate the complex and highly customized payroll system, no other company will be able to run it. A copy of the report was made available to The New York Times through a Freedom of Information request to the office of John C. Liu, the city comptroller.

The city had been preparing to solicit bids in the next couple of weeks for a contract to operate CityTime, for an estimated $30 million a year, once SAIC completes installation of the system, now scheduled to be finished by June 30.

And while SAIC may well be one of the bidders, city officials wanted to inject some competition into a bedeviled project that, at a cost of more than $700 million and running, had become the focus of an $80 million federal corruption case.

The system’s cost and the criminal investigation have been a major embarrassment for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

In a statement released Thursday, Mr. Liu, who has been critical of CityTime since taking office a year ago, warned that SAIC could hold “an indefinite monopoly” on the system.

“The emerging product holds the client — the City of New York — hostage to one company, the project’s developer,” Mr. Liu said. “Proprietary systems like this require a relationship in perpetuity, which stifles competition, fails to ensure superior goods and services, and is a poor business practice that the city simply cannot afford.”

SAIC has been subpoenaed in the corruption case, but it is not believed to be a target of any investigation.

Instead, the federal inquiry, in which six people have been charged, has centered on people working for Spherion, a quality-assurance subcontractor for SAIC.

Last month, Joel Bondy, the executive director of the Office of Payroll Administration, which oversaw CityTime, was suspended without pay and then resigned.

SAIC has been criticized, repeatedly, for the cost of the project.


When asked about the KPMG report, Marc La Vorgna, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, did not echo Mr. Liu’s outrage.

“The report confirms that once we address some outstanding issues — issues that are being addressed — the system can be transferred to another entity for operation,” Mr. La Vorgna said. “Our goal is to have a system primarily operated by city employees. The comptroller is well aware of all of this.”

So much for accountability.


  1. It really pisses me off that this scandal has not gotten the kind of attention it deserves. When Bloombucks was in front of the camera stating that teacher pensions were ruining the city, it would have been nice if some commentators had pointed out the hundreds of millions of dollars that were wasted on CityTime. The project, I believe was supposed to have cost around $62 mil. It went to over $700 mil in cost overruns, as well as the $80 mil that was embezzled. ATRs'salaries amount to only a fraction of the money pissed down the drain on CityTime--and that was not the only hugely wasteful, non-bid project that the city was involved in.

  2. I totally agree - pisses me off big time. The project is now costing $770 million and counting. And not a word about that huge waste of money during the State of the City. Nope - just more about the evils of pensions.

    And of course the dutiful Post with all the pensions stories today and Klein with his "Pensions are evil" op-ed while he is collecting his own pension check. So few in the corporate-owned media say a word.

  3. The idea that the city needs SAIC or any of the other companies involved in this fiasco is laughable.

    As in most any large software development projects there are a small dedicated number of individuals that possess enough knowledge of the system to maintain it or train others on it's maintenance. The majority of those individuals can be converted to city employees or brought in as independent consultants.

    Also the idea that a users manual for maintaining a system of this complexity is also something that is probably a non-issue. It is software, it has source code which can be read and understood by individuals with sufficient background in the technologies used, the use of proprietary frameworks not withstanding.