The state’s pension system computer isn’t old, it’s just aging gracefully, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said today.
In a 26-page response to a scathing state audit last week, DiNapoli refuted that the pension-system computer software — which dates back to the 1950s — is a security threat.
“The Retirement System is run on a secure and battle-tested system written in COBOL, a very stable programming language that is extensively used throughout New York State government as well as by financial institutions throughout the world,” the report says. “It has been a reliable, safe and flexible system that has served members, retirees and users well for decades.”
The report from the Department of Financial Services last week was critical of the system, raising concerns over whether the outdated software could lead to security breaches.
It’s the latest in the ongoing war of words between DiNapoli and Cuomo forces.
DiNapoli’s response said that the audit by Benjamin Lawsky, the superintendent of the financial services department, didn’t highlight that the computer system for the $160 billion pension system is being updated/
“Beginning in April 2007, staff at the Office of the State Comptroller has been working to develop the next system of computer programs to manage NYSLRS for the coming decades,” the response said. “We have been deliberate in our process to avoid costly mistakes made by others while completing such a large system-wide transition. The lack of mention of any progress in this area by DFS is a glaring oversight.”
Updated: Matt Anderson, spokesperson for the Department of Financial Services, shot back at DiNapoli’s report and said they aren’t done auditing the pension fund.
“When you are responsible for a $160 billion pension fund, you should take responsibility for problems and fix them, instead of pretending they don’t exist. The simple truth is that the Office of the State Comptroller itself has said that the system is ‘approaching a point of failure’,” Anderson said. “Their response today does not change that fact. The record also clearly shows that they have not taken sufficient steps over the last six years to address these problems. An IT failure in benefit processing for a nearly $160 billion pension fund would clearly pose a significant risk to beneficiaries and taxpayers. This is the first in a series of audits DFS will release on the state pension fund and we will continue our rigorous oversight.”