Costs For New Call Center Significantly Reduced

The high costs for the phone systems and computers that will be installed in the new 911 call center near Pelham Parkway have been significantly reduced.

A new contract for the call center’s systems has now been approved by Comptroller John Liu, whose actions slashed $191 million for what is known as Emergency Communications Transformation Program.

The phone systems and computers will make up the heart of the 20-story office building currently under construction next to the Hutchinson Metro Center, where Pelham Parkway and the Hutchinson River Parkway meet. “By registering a key contract with Northrop Gruman, Comptroller Liu has cleared the way for us to continue progress on our program to modernize the city’s 911 system,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “Our existing 911 system has served the city well for decade, but it relies on outdated technology and must be replaced. I would like to thank the comptroller for taking this action.

An original $286 million contract with Northrop Grumman had been rejected by Liu because the bulk of the contract was left open to unspecified “time and expense” costs, which allowed the for the possibility of contractors billing by the hour and racking up exorbitant time and labor costs.

Working with City Hall, the comptrollers office was able to change the contract to a fixed-price agreement for design work that should be tied to results, and the move should side step any abuses on the part of contractors, subcontractors, or workers looking for extra hours or overtime.

“ECPT was intended to improve public safety for New Yorkers,” Liu said. “Current fiscal constraints compel tighter cost management. This restructured contract enables City Hall to achieve that intent, and to do so in a timely manner, within our means.”

In addition to changes in the contract structure, the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, which is working on constructing the backup 911-call-center names PSAC II with the FDNY and NYPD, has also agreed to have every request related to pay schedule and the schedule of the project submitted to the comptroller for oversight.

Community Board 11 member Vinny Prezioso said that he has confidence that if Comptroller Liu follows the contract through to its completion, that no cost overruns will occur. “I am surprised they were able to reduce the contract by that much,” Prezioso said.

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