by CIO Staff

New York City CIO Avi Duvdevani a Year After 9/11

Sep 01, 20023 mins

Practically right up until his last day of work on April 5, Avi Duvdevani was on the run. Duvdevani, 54, the former acting CIO of New York City who took his post on Sept. 4, 2001, was hustling to restore telephone and computer network service to nearly all 60 government agencies that had lost service after the terrorist attacks.

The city’s central connectivity source?Verizon’s facility in Lower Manhattan?didn’t reach total recovery until late March. At that point, IT managers at the New York Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) could say that the city’s telephone system had full redundancy.

The perils of depending on one vendor was one of the first 9/11 recovery lessons that Duvdevani, whose title was acting commissioner, shared with CIO last fall (see “At the Center of a New World,” at

Since then, he’s documented all that he and his 40-person crisis team learned after last year’s terrorist attacks?enough to fill a 4-inch-thick binder. Duvdevani also updated the disaster recovery and business continuity plan for his successor (and longtime colleague) Gino Menchini, a 17-year city government veteran appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to be the new New York City DoITT commissioner and CIO.

Before Sept. 11, Duvdevani and his team were prepared for what the worst-case scenario had been up until that point?Y2K. “No one could have imagined the horrific situation we faced,” says Duvdevani.

Post-Sept. 11, Duvdevani revised those plans to include business continuity tactics the DoITT devised during the aftermath. “The whole idea was to force repeatable and executable processes to support communications continuity,” says Duvdevani.

He conducted a strict assessment of network needs and priorities in case of disaster, giving preference to tier-one agencies, such as the police department and city hall. The plan also covered conducting a business impact analysis and risk assessment and creating a set of alternative solutions and deployment plans. “It’s basically an outline of what we did after Sept. 11, except what we did then we did on the fly,” he says.

After the city’s government was running again, Duvdevani decided to top off his 30 years of city service with a “career capper opportunity.” So on April 8, Duvdevani became the CIO of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). “It was very hard for me to leave DoITT, particularly having worked with my team during a time of crisis,” Duvdevani says. In his new role, he will oversee a five-year, multimillion-dollar Oracle ERP rollout and contribute to an overhaul of the NYCHA’s financial and materials management. In contrast to the rebuild work he did at DoITT, “it’s a great chance for me to build something from the ground up,” Duvdevani says.