The Little IT Program That Could Bankrupt New York City


From the comments in my earlier post about how states and cities go bust (they spend too much, duh!), comes this tale of a New York City IT program that has metastisized from an original cost-to-complete price tag of $68 million to a new, obviously not-serious total of $721 million.

The CityTime system—assuming that it is finally completed—will cover 140,000 city workers who, instead of filling out paper timesheets, will need to scan their hands into a biometric reader to record their comings and goings. The system currently covers 45,000 employees, 19,000 of whom must use it to clock in and out each day and during their lunch hours.  City workers earning more than $68,000 don't have to use the palm scanners, which makes the New York City unions angry.

The project was initiated in 1998 at an estimated cost of $68 million…. This 2008 CityLimits article says the project contract, which I assume includes system maintenance, could run to 2021.

The current estimated cost to complete is now placed at a whopping $722 million, with some $670 million of that going to the defense contractor SAIC for the system's development. According to this article in the New York Daily News, most of the remaining tens of millions have been spent on outside contract and project management to control the project's cost and quality.

It's like the '70s in New York never went away! More, including Mayor Bloomberg's lack of interest in actually killing or containing the program's costs, here.

Another outrage from today's blog: The California city of Vallejo, which is in bankruptcy, won't take a serious whack at the very pension and benefits outrages that have put the gummint in the poorhouse!