Friday, March 25, 2011

CM James Responds To Deputy Mayor Goldsmith Daily News Op-ed; Outsourcing IT Jobs

March 25, 2011

Contact: Aja Worthy-Davis at (212) 788-7081

Council Member Letitia James Releases Statement In Response To Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith's Daily News Op-ed On Outsourcing IT Jobs
Commends Efforts to Increase Positions for City Workers, Cites Additional Need for Oversight

New York, NY— “On Thursday, March 24, 2011, the New York Daily News covered an op-ed by New York City Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith concerning the outsourcing of IT positions to private contractors.

Deputy Mayor Goldsmith asserted that the issue at hand was not the outsourcing itself, but rather that the administration needed to place more attention towards employing City workers to perform IT duties. It seems plain to me that if City workers could be trained to perform these IT duties for less money, then much of this outsourcing constitutes unnecessary and wasteful spending.

That said, training City workers to perform contracted IT duties, and strengthening oversight of contractors, are excellent steps to addressing the ballooning costs of City contracting positions well within the scope of municipal workers. I commend the administration for taking positive steps in centralizing the City’s data server, as well as using public workers to manage the City’s wireless network and Business Express tool.

In fact, the Emergency Communications Transformation Program (ECTP) project, and the $286M contract that was originally proposed to New York City Comptroller John Liu, is a fair example of where the administration needs to increase oversight. The ECTP project seeked to upgrade the City’s 9-1-1 system by establishing two unified 9-1-1 emergency call center systems.

As was the issue with the Citytime contract, the cost of the ECTP project mushroomed from an initial $380M to $666M without significant changes. In fact, six years after the ECTP contract was originally awarded, the Brooklyn 9-1-1 Center was still not fully operational and one year behind schedule. For these reasons, Comptroller Liu’s rejected renewal of the contract for $286M, citing such issues as lack of transparency over time and expense billing arrangement, multiple layers of subcontractors, and significant cost overruns. On March 15, 2011, Comptroller Liu registered a $95M fixed-price contract for the project, with an agreement of increased communication with his office on ongoing budget matters.

If the administration is truly committed to addressing the oversight and management of private contractors, then there must be a mechanism in place to examine these contracts before they reach the Comptroller’s desk.

Again, I commend the administration on taking initial steps to address the fiscal and transparency issues associated with private contractors, and I hope that the outsourcing of positions other than IT will be addressed. I also hope that these administrative changes will include the recommendations of the Council’s Committee on Contracts as well as unions. I look forward to working together to address these issues.”


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