"Would a timekeeping system by
any other name smell so foul?"
Here's the deal.
Years ago, someone in NYCHA heard that having employees fill out paper timecards and having them place the timecard into a clock for time/date stamping was antiquated and subject to abuse. (See Spotlight Issues #2 and #3)
So, NYCHA contracted with a company called Interboro to update the system. According to what we were all told at the time, your employee ID would be interactive with this new Interboro system. In a like manner with a terrorists gun setting off an airport security detector, your NYCHA ID card, even as it sat in your purse or wallet, would "trigger" the scanning device located near the main entry doors of NYCHA's offices.
Thus, NYCHA would have an automatic record of your time of entry and exit from any of NYCHA's work areas.
That was the plan. (Now, I know that many of you can find major flaws with that system, but let's leave our common sense on a shelf somewhere and pretend that this is an ingenious plan brought to us from the NYCHA Board up high on Mount 250.)
Interboro contracted to complete the job by June of 1996.
As I write this it is October 10, 1999. 40 months have passed since the scheduled Contract Completion, and there is still no Automatic Timekeeping Information System, or ATIS! That's right, millions of dollars were spent on a contract that is over 3 years behind schedule!
Want worse news?
I'm being told that even were Interboro to complete this contract sometime before the end of the next millennium, NYCHA would still be bound to this apparently inept outfit. For our sources say that NYCHA's brain trust failed to study this contract, and only after signing did they realize that the software needed to run the system (if it ever runs) will belong to Interboro, NOT NYCHA.
That would mean that if NYCHA ever desired to alter something in the way the Timekeeping system keeps track of you, NYCHA would need to contract with Interboro again!!!
And it gets even better than that!
The taxpayers pay millions of dollars to Interboro, yet NYCHA still must assign NYCHA employees to try and solve the problem Interboro's apparent default on this contract has caused.
In an email (Click Here) dated Thursday, November 4, 1999, Roy Sinclair (Deputy General Manager-Finance) writes that Paul Graziano (General Manager) has "deputized" Roy to do an "expedited review of the status of ATIS; its clocks, the current version of the software, its Y2K readiness, the feasibility of rolling the system out to the entire Authority."
(Editor's Note: It's the month of November in the year of 1999, and we're just NOW getting around to testing this system for Y2K readiness? If it isn't ready, shall we rely on a company that is already 40 months behind schedule to fix any Y2K problem in less than 2 months? Get real, folks!)
Later in the email, we find this goodie:
"Because of the intense effort which (sic) will be required to make a rational determination of the feasibility and desirability of completing the ATIS . . ."
Get that? NYCHA isn't even sure that it needs/wants to use a system that cost the taxpayers millions of dollars! It may not be feasible and/or desirable.
The email goes on to list all the NYCHA employees (about a dozen) who will be (get this) "matrix" support to try and straighten this most current mess out. Of course, part of the email is used to explain the matrixing concept to those employees. Roy tells these folks that they will all still be under their current bosses, and they will all be expected to do the same job that they've been doing every day before this Dirty Dozen of NYCHA shock troops were put together. HOWEVER, they will all be on call to accept additional duties in working on the Time Clock debacle.
So, either these folks all possess some demonic time-stretching powers, or they've been slacking off on NYCHA time. How else can a person perform their regular duties AND ride to NYCHA's rescue to help conquer the ATIS system ALL AT THE SAME TIME?
And, back stabbing is still the sport of choice at 250 Broadway. (Remember this example the next time a NYCHA email talks of working together as a team.) Roy writes:
"I realize that you all have been working on this for a long time, but I believe that the project has lost direction and leadership and that none of us truly knows at this point the whole picture or what works and what doesn't. It is my job to find out by Nov. 12."
Well, after stabbing the person in charge thus far, Mr. Cardenas-Director Computer Services, Roy Sinclair then admits that nobody knows "what works and what doesn't" from this contract.
Even if nothing else we wrote about were true, this alone should trigger City, State and, especially, Federal/HUD investigations. (But we're betting that HUD hides, the NYS Attorney General--Elliot Spitzer spins and City Hall will be too busy seizing taxis, proposing Charter Changes and battling art museums to pay this any attention.)
One other troubling thing hits us when we see a fiasco involving Interboro. It's just too bad that Kalman (the Fink) Finkel's daughter, Ms. Shlamis Levy, couldn't help NYCHA out. She's probably very knowledgeable about Interboro's equipment.
After all, when her daddy, the Vice-Chair of NYCHA, decided to contract with Interboro, Interboro got the brilliant idea to hire her. (There's a rumor that Ms. Levy's Uncle, the Fink's brother, also punches an Interboro Timeclock) And prior to Bruce (the Gooser) Gatewood leaving NYCHA, he had remarked that Interboro was going to be his next employer.
We'll still give a good mark to NYCHA for at least starting to pay attention to this mess. But we'd sure like to hear from the Chair on why those millions of dollars produced nothing of any apparent value!
© 1999 Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
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