The price of advice.

Author:Murphy, Jarrett
Position::THE NOTE

In 2008, City Limits ran a story about CityTime, the project to streamline the city's payroll operations.

At the time, the original $63 million budget had ballooned to $400 million, but Ali Winston's story was about the people benefiting from that largesse. The main CityTime contractor, SAIC, had experienced big problems on earlier technology management projects. And the firm that was supposed to be monitoring SAIC's quality compliance, Spherion, had an interesting link to the city official overseeing CityTime: Before joining the Bloomberg administration, Joel Bondy, the executive director of the Office of Payroll Administration (OPA) had worked for as a consultant on CityTime ... for Spherion.

Last December, federal prosecutors indicted six people on charges that they had embezzled up to $76 million from the CityTime program. One of them, a consultant for Spherion, had, according to prosecutors, enjoyed "direct access to the executive director of OPA and the ability to, among other things, help shape and approve contract amendments and work orders." In the wake of the arrests, Bondy (who has never been accused of wrongdoing) resigned, more indictments came and CityTime's budget ballooned to more than $700 million.

But money isn't everything. Nor is CityTime the full measure of the Bloomberg administration's use of private consultants and contractors. As Ruth Ford and Adrienne Day report in this issues feature, our nearly 10 years under a businessman mayor have seen a dramatic shift in the number and...

To continue reading