Saini leaves DoITT amidst controversy

DoITT’s failure to stop a preventable bug from crashing the city’s official wireless network prevented the city from remotely controlling 12,000 traffic lights.
DoITT’s failure to stop a preventable bug from crashing the city’s official wireless network prevented the city from remotely controlling 12,000 traffic lights.
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DoITT’s failure to stop a preventable bug from crashing the city’s official wireless network prevented the city from remotely controlling 12,000 traffic lights.

Saini leaves DoITT amidst controversy

Some see his resignation as the result of DoITT’s failure to stop a preventable bug from crashing the city’s official wireless network.
June 17, 2019

Samir Saini stepped down as head of New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications on Friday, after holding the position for just a year and a half. Saini, who left a similar government job in Atlanta to join Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration last January, gave no reason for his departure other than his intention to join the private sector. But for some, Saini’s resignation is the result of DoITT’s failure to stop a preventable bug from crashing NYCWiN, the city’s official wireless network, which prevented the city from remotely controlling 12,000 traffic lights.

City Councilman Robert Holden – the newly appointed chair of the Council’s Committee on Technology – didn’t mince words in connecting the gaffe to Saini’s resignation, telling the New York Post that he believed the problems associated with NYCWiN played a key role in his stepping down. “There were problems with his leadership possibly and I’m looking forward to working with the next person who takes over,” Holden told the Post. Eusebio Formoso, chief information officer at the Department of Finance, will take over Saini’s role in the interim.

De Blasio hasn’t commented on whether he pushed Saini out, suggesting only that DoITT would be under more scrutiny in the future. “We’ll have a search process start right away, we’ll fill that role in the next few months,” he told reporters on Friday. “There definitely are issues that we have to address going forward in DOITT to make it a stronger agency, we’ll have more to say on that.”

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
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