On March 12, 2015 the NYCERS Trustees approved a $2.25M budget allocation to be squandered on a mindless IT conversion project.
On May 10, 2015, two months later, I released a sharp criticism, of the project.
On May 12, 2015, two days later, the NYCERS executive director, Diane D'Alessandro, released an unsigned memo notifying the NYCERS staff of the fabulous five year IT conversion project.
So after two months D'Alessandro finally decides to let the troops know what she is doing, exactly two days after I point out the insanity of her project. She starts as follows:
As you may know, NYCERS is embarking on a major information technology (IT) and business system project to replace our now 35-year-old legacy pension administration system - PROD, the core of all NYCERS business functions. The project, known as the Legacy Replacement Project (LRP), will affect almost every aspect of our work at NYCERS, taking at least five years to complete.
She carefully describes the vote by the trustees as follows:
At its March 2015 meeting, the NYCERS Board of Trustees conceptually approved the LRP and adopted a budget that funds early project phases.
She also announces an internal PR campaign:
This is major NYCERS project. As a first step, we have begun a series of meetings to brief everyone on the project and to get your input regarding the initial phase of planning.
Without doubt D'Alessanro will be looking to drag in a ton of consultants for this project. She does, however, want to ensure the staff that she supports them totally:
I want you all to know that NYCERS is committed to providing our staff with the resources and support necessary to ensure success at all stages of this project. We will continue to keep you informed and seek your input as we progress.
You can't make this stuff up.
Just for Laughs
As part of the $2.25M, D'Alessandro got $500,000 for a sole source contract with Gartner. Of that amount, $310,000, is supposed to cover the cost of producing a RFP for the vague conversion project. There is nothing vague about its $132M price tag.
So what does Gartner do? They go looking for a recognized public pension expert who has substantial IT background. That probably is a good idea, since they don't particularly know much about public pension systems. Needless to say, neither does NYCERS.
In turn, Gartner contracts with a IT staffing firm to find such an expert.
On May 14, 2015, this firm reaches out to such an expert with the idea of hiring him and assigning him to the the Gartner contract.
On May 18, 2015 the firm calls the expert and describes the assignment. It becomes quickly clear to the expert that this assignment is part of the NYCERS IT conversion fiasco.
I will let you all guess who the expert was.
The expert was kind enough to let the firm know that, in spite of his intense interest in the project, D'Alessandro would never allow him to work on the project.