The Anchorage Assembly approved on Tuesday night a $650,000 contract with a former IBM executive aimed at salvaging the city's SAP software upgrade project.

John Marcinko, who is based in Pennsylvania, started working on the SAP project in January as a project manager, according to documents submitted to the Assembly. The project -- which is four years behind schedule and plagued by cost overruns -- would install software made by the international technology company SAP to replace a 16-year-old system that automates payroll and other government functions.

City manager Mike Abbott said the administration had been "very impressed" with Marcinko's knowledge of successful SAP installations -- Marcinko previously worked as an associate partner in IBM's Global Business Services division. Of the contract cost, Abbott said Marcinko's pay will amount to less than one percent of the $70 million the city ultimately expects to spend on the project.

He added that Marcinko's contract will cost less than others approved by the city since the start of the project, where the pay rate averaged more than $300 an hour.

Abbott said he expects Marcinko will work in Anchorage two weeks each month and remotely the other two weeks. The contract extends to July 2017.

The Assembly voted 10-1 on the contract, with Assemblywoman Amy Demboski the only vote in opposition. Just before the vote, Demboski asked Abbott to confirm that the contract was for a single person.

The Assembly also on Tuesday night approved a $1 million contract extension for SAP consultants to develop and install the system.

Marcinko will be overseeing the SAP employees working on the project, Abbott said.