CityTime Can’t Be Operated by Other Firms, Manufacturer Likely to Control It Forever

Lucas Gilmore, “Big 4″ observer
January 20, 2011 /

An investigation from consultants KPMG revealed further holes in the controversy-laden CityTime.

Upon the request of New York City Comptroller to probe the questionable automated timekeeper, KPMG found that CityTime appears to be not user friendly with other companies as its manufacturer, Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), has not provided a user’s manual along with it.

The report said the existing documentation found in CityTime appears to be lacking in the functionality that can allow other users to operate and maintain it. KPMG said that it has already recommended for a prompt action to address the problems identified as ‘high priority’ and make necessary transitions once this is done.

City Comptroller John Liu said the report was troubling and that it was likely to hold the city “hostage” to SAIC since the knowledge of CityTime’s operations is exclusive only for its employees.

However, a spokesman of city mayor Michael Bloomberg downplayed the comptroller’s interpretation of the report, saying control of the payroll system can still be transferred to other firms once “some outstanding issues” are addressed. The spokesman said the city, indeed, wants CityTime to be “primarily operated” by the city employees and that Liu is aware of it.

CityTime has been associated with numerous delays and large cost overruns since its inception. In December last year, its consultants have been charged by Manhattan prosecutors with defrauding about $80 million injected on the project since 2005. The prosecutors alleged that CityTime manufacturers have been raking large sums from the city by making it to award expensive contracts to businesses they owned.

The project’s costs have already reached 10 times more than what has been allotted for CityTime, over $600 million from the initial $60 million approximately, and was released six months past due.


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