Philadelphia amends contract for water-billing system


"We certainly hope the [agreement in principle] ends the political turmoil," Neff said. She added that the mayor's office of information systems took over the project when problems developed and "got the full blame for problems, which was a little irritating. It has taken longer than hoped, but we've come up with a very good solution that allows us to move forward."

Neff stopped work on Project Ocean, which is designed to replace an inefficient 30-year-old custom-built system, last October. That suspension remains in place until the contract amendment is finalized in two to three weeks, Phillis said. The city also plans to hire an outside party to oversee future work, which Neff said could push costs above $18 million.

Oracle officials could not be reached for comment. But last month a spokeswoman said that Project Ocean was still in progress and that Oracle would deliver on its obligations.

Neff said last month that problems with the implementation stemmed from technical complexities, Oracle's inexperience with building such a system and the departures of several project managers and executives sponsors.

After leaving the city, Neff will work for Civitium LLC in Alpharetta, Ga., a consulting firm that specializes in municipal wireless systems. She leaves the city after five years as CIO, the longest term any CIO has spent there.