The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that New York City's infamous CityTime payroll tracking project is "essentially completed." The project was originally scheduled to cost $68 million but will end up costing some $722 million and has been plagued by accusations of fraud. The WSJ reports that the project will be fully finished by the end of June.
The CityTime contract with the project's prime contractor, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), was restructured in September of last year after some tense negotiations. As part of the restructuring, New York City demanded that SAIC complete the project by June of 2011, when it would receive a final payment of $32 million. If not, the city would withhold the payment until the project was finished as well as charge SAIC $3 million for each month it took past the deadline.
An audit released in September by the New York City Comptroller's Office reported that as of June of last year, after almost 12 years of effort and $628 million spent, the project covered only 58 of 81 New York City agencies, with approximately 58,000 of the required 161,000 city employees using the system.
Funny how a fixed deadline and a monetary (dis)incentive motivated so much of the remaining work to be done in such a short amount of time.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.