Mayor Mike Bloomberg said today that he only heard about fraudulent activities connected with city’s payroll system last week, when Department of Investigations head Rose Gill Hearn charged four consultants with using bilking the city for $80 million, even though a letter unearthed yesterday revealed concerns about the project dating back to 2003.
“We have certainly known that there is a problem with this for a long time in terms of being over budget and delayed,” the mayor said. “The first time I have heard about [any criminal wrongdoing] was the other day the day [when] Rose Gill Hearn arrested a bunch of people.”
When pressed about the letter written by Richard R. Valcich, executive director of the city’s Office of Payroll Administration, which accused SAIC, the company in charge of City Time, of “having a commitment to quality [that] is almost non-existent,” the mayor said: “That’s one of the things we are looking at. Why did somebody write a letter and why did it not raise the appropriate level of interest?”
CityTime was designed to replace paper time sheets with hand scanners for city employees. It was supposed to cost $68 million, but costs have ballooned to over $700 million. In March of this year Mayor Bloomberg called the project “a disaster.”