From the NY Post:
Comptroller John Liu refused today to approve a $286 million contract to complete a five-year-old upgrade of the 911 system, contending that "some of the issues are similar to problems" encountered in the scandal-ridden CityTime project.
In a brief letter to Mayor Bloomberg, Liu said he’s concerned that the project’s cost has increased from $380 million in 2005 to $666 million "and counting."
Liu said the new IT contract with Northrup Grumman that would help establish a second 911 center to back up one that began operating at Brooklyn’s Metrotech in May 2009 includes multiple layers of contractors and a time and expense billing arrangement "which does not encourage timely completion."
But city officials insisted that most of contract is for "fixed-cost deliverables" and hourly rates only apply to selected portions of the deal.
Liu aides said he acted because the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, which is overseeing the contract, couldn’t produce documents relating to "a number of pricing issues" and couldn’t justify the cost of various hardware used in building the system.
The modernization of 911 — known as the Emergency Communications Transformation Project — is designed to centralize all call and dispatch functions of police, fire and ambulance services into one computerized system.
A spokesman for the mayor responded by saying, "We will be working with the comptroller to resolve any concerns and ensure this important project, which has already improved public safety in the city, can move forward."
The projected bill for the overall 911 modernization plan — which includes equipment, building and land acquisition costs — is $2 billion, of which $645 million has been spent.