Everyone now knows about CityTime, the $700 million attempt to streamline the city's payroll processes that's way over budget, well behind schedule and now linked to multiple federal indictments. But the Bloomberg administration's use of private contractors didn't begin and end with CityTime.
In its latest issue, City Limits reports that the past 10 years have seen a profound change not just in the amount the city spends on outside contractors, but what they are being asked to do.
Instead of just providing a product, they are providing advice, giving strategic direction, helping to craft policy.
This raises questions not just about whether New York is getting bang for its buck, but whether accountability, transparency and other checks and balances operate when a private company takes on public work.
For instance, in 2006 the city school system paid an outside contractor $15 million to rethink the city’s bus routes. The result, one critic says, was a “fiasco.”