For the last several years, the city’s Department of Education has boasted about its record of placing students in the high schools of their choice, thanks to a new computerized process. But if the ends were successful, the means were anything but, according to the city comptroller.
In an audit released Thursday, the comptroller, John C. Liu, criticized the department’s handling of the finances of the computer system, which is modeled after a system that matches medical school graduates with residency programs.
Instead of adhering to its original contract of $3.6 million for the system’s development, the audit found, the department spent $13.5 million. Then the original project was deemed insufficient and it had to be scrapped and the city had to spend an additional $9.4 million — and counting — for a new system.
The gulf of more than $19 million between expected and projected costs reflected “poor planning” and raised concerns, the comptroller’s office said, about “similar cost overruns” for all technology projects.
The city’s original contract was with Spherion, a company whose reputation was sullied in December when several of its consultants were indicted by federal prosecutors. The consultants were accused of concocting an $80 million corruption scheme related to another technological initiative, an automated payroll system called CityTime. The city hired a new vendor for the Education Department in 2008.In a letter to Cathleen P. Black, the schools chancellor, H. Tina Kim, the city’s deputy comptroller for audits, wrote, “Clearly, savings could have been achieved with better planning and coordination.”
Better planning and coordination from the fiscally prudent money manager Bloomberg?
How dare you, madam!
Nobody knows how to spend municipal money better than Mayor Moneybags.
That's why he keeps signing these contracts with crooked companies that overcharge the city millions, or, as in the CityTime project, steal millions outright.
Given that this admissions program computer system is connected to one of the companies involved in the CityTime scandal and given that the budget for the program is $10 million overbudget and counting, you would think that the great money manager Bloomberg would be crying out that something MUST be done to save money for the city.
But you would be wrong.
Instead, Bloomberg wants to lay off 4,666 teachers, close 100 senior centers and 20 firehouses, cut a daycare program, and lay off another 1,500 city employees.
Because in Mike Bloomberg's world, outside consultant contracts - even the crooked ones - are sacrosanct.
So Spherion got to finish out its contract with the city and now another company has the contract through 2013.
I wonder how many more teachers will be laid off and old people thrown out onto the street by 2013?