New York’s CTO to leave as row deepens over city’s handling of IT projects

By David Bicknell

New York, New York (So Good They Named It Twice) – as the song goes -though not so good at delivering successful IT projects, it would seem.

According to The New York Times, the city’s chief technology official Carol Post has resigned after clashing with a deputy mayor over the management of several costly, ambitious IT projects.

According to the newspaper, city government spokespeople said Ms. Post, who is the commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, should not be blamed for the mismanagement of the $2.3 billion 911 project, whose problems predated her arrival in the job. She is reported to be leaving to take up a new position at the New York Law School. 

Post’s departure  was announced a day before New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg said the city would challenge a judge’s order to release a report by consultants McKinsey on an overbudget, much-delayed modernisation of the city’s 911 emergency calls and dispatching system.

According to The New York Times story, concerns have been expressed about the cost of an upgrade to CityNet, the city’s internal data network; there are continuing problems and shortcomings with CitiServ, a data centre that was supposed to consolidate dozens of city agency servers; and a shortage of users for NYCWin, a secure municipal wireless network.

The wireless network cost $500 million to build and a further $40 million a year to operate, and is underused and arguably outdated.

CityNet has experienced interruptions in service, despite a system of redundant fiber optic rings intended to enable it to withstand a breakdown. The $95 million CitiServ project is reported to have confounded agency officials, with the technology department, DoITT, struggling to migrate old systems into the new data centre.

“The technology department is officially referred to by its acronym, DoITT, but is sometimes derided as “Don’t Do It” by city workers who seek to avoid working with the department,” The New York Times said.

Of Post’s departure, Bloomberg said, “Over the past ten years, we have fundamentally transformed the operations of New York City agencies and elevated New Yorkers’ expectations of how efficient, user-friendly and transparent their government should be, and a large part of that is because of the tirelessness and talent of Carole Post. From her work at the Department of Buildings to the Mayor’s Office of Operations to DoITT, Carole has brought agencies together in common cause, finding efficiencies, defining legal strategies and creating collaborations that use taxpayers’ dollars more effectively. There’s nobody better to help a great institution like New York Law School climb to new heights, and though I’m very disappointed to see her go, I wish her well in tackling this new challenge.”

NY’s CTO Resigns, As Some Question Bloomberg’s Handling of City’s Tech Projects

New York’s emergency call IT project: just seven years behind schedule and $1bn overbudget

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