Mayor's office: 911 system overhaul on hold

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An overhaul of the city's 911 system, plagued in recent years by cost overruns, programmatic delays and technical programs, will be put on hold as it undergoes a multiagency investigation, the mayor's office announced Monday.

An early review by Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration this year uncovered more technical design, systems integration and project management flaws in the system, called the Emergency Communications Technology Project, de Blasio's office said.

The halt and review were ordered Sunday by First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris in a directive to leaders of the NYPD, FDNY and Office of Citywide Emergency Communications, among other agencies.

The emergency communications office must temporarily report to the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Anne Roest. No contracts will be awarded, purchase orders approved or work resulting in additional expenditures conducted without Roest's signoff.

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The Department of Investigations and Comptroller Scott M. Stringer's office will also probe the system.

New recommendations are expected in July.

"We all came to the conclusion that this was out of control, it had to be stopped and it needed a thorough review," de Blasio said. "And then we'll have an idea of what it will take to actually modernize this in a believable way, in a cost-efficient way."

The Emergency Communications Technology Project began in 2004 as a five-year, $1.3 billion initiative under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg to modernize the 911 system, but it ran to operational and technical issues that resulted in it being years behind schedule and about $1 billion over budget. It had been scheduled to be completed in 2008.

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