By changing an outdated public security radio system, Frederick’s regulators are nonetheless at a lifeless finish Winchester Star
WINCHESTER – How to replace the outdated Frederick County’s public safety radio system remains a matter of dispute among Frederick County’s board members.
A number of problems were identified more than two years ago during an evaluation of the system by Mission Critical Partners of Pennsylvania. For one, the capacity of the system is limited as no frequencies are transmitted nationwide and there are a limited number of operating channels in case the primary shipping channels become overloaded.
Four vendors responded to the county’s RFP to replace the system. In November, an internal working group called the Communications Committee, made up of users of the system such as the Sheriff’s Office, Fire & Rescue Department, and emergency dispatchers, recommended that the board select EF Johnson from Texas.
Mission Critical Partners helped develop the RFP and facilitated RFP assessment and supplier negotiations.
In the months that followed, several board members raised concerns about the cost of replacing the system (estimated at over $ 21 million at EF Johnson), possibly “incomplete, inconsistent, or inaccurate” statements from Mission Critical Partners, and the fact that EF Johnson Hadn’t done so, built a large public safety radio system in Virginia.
During the board meeting on Wednesday evening, there were disagreements among the supervisory authorities about how to proceed. Red Bud Supervisor Blaine Dunn and Back Creek Supervisor Shawn Graber asked the Board to consider terminating the current RFP and obtain a second opinion to evaluate it.
Dunn said if the board didn’t consider starting over with a new RFP, it should at least consider allowing L3Harris – along with EF Johnson and Motorola – to declare costs on the project. He believes adding L3Harris to the mix would force the other two vendors to hold their own. L3Harris responded to the original RFP, but the communications committee narrowed down the top candidates to EF Johnson and Motorola.
Dunn, Graber and Gainesboro Supervisor J. Douglas McCarthy said at a board meeting in January that EF Johnson threatened to sue the county if supervisors disagreed with the communications committee’s recommendation to shut down the company. The three claim that fears of litigation have deterred the other board members from considering alternatives.
On Wednesday evening, Dunn, Graber and McCarthy voted to issue a new RFP with new parameters for the project. They argued that getting rid of the old RFP and releasing a new RFP could help avoid litigation with EF Johnson and that this would give regulators another chance to negotiate a better price. However, the motion failed when board chairman Charles DeHaven Jr. and superiors Judith McCann-Slaughter, David Stegmaier and Bob Wells voted against it.
After the first vote failed, Dunn and Graber voted in a separate motion to include L3Harris on the negotiating table.
“I believe it is imperative that we owe it to taxpayers to give them the best return on their dollars,” Graber said. “And I believe we are doing this to create competition. Competing by simply adding this third party to the mix who is a very competent provider would give us the bargaining power to do that. “
DeHaven, McCann-Slaughter, Stegmaier, Wells and McCarthy voted against this motion, so it failed.
“Although I agree with the motive of the motion, I will be voting against the motion,” said McCarthy. “I think it is a dangerous move if you basically choose certain people to reintroduce them. We are already in the middle of the threat of legal proceedings and I can only imagine what will happen if we select a company and put it back in the process [where] The train has left the station, so to speak. “
Wells and Stegmaier said the communications committee is reviewing the situation with radio exchanges and the committee plans to provide an update to the board. Both recommended postponing decisions until regulators hear from the committee.