EF Johnson determined to exchange Frederick County’s out of date public security radio system for $ 20 million on Winchester Star

WINCHESTER – A company has been selected to replace the outdated public safety radio system in Frederick County.

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-3 on Wednesday night for Texas-based EF Johnson and authorized the county administrator to enter into a contract with the company that does not exceed $ 20,007,471 for the initial cost of the system. An additional $ 8.9 million is expected to be spent on the radio system over the next 20 years.

Board chairman Charles DeHaven Jr., Opequon supervisor Bob Wells, Stonewall supervisor Judith McCann-Slaughter, and Shawnee supervisor David Stegmaier voted for EF Johnson. Gainesboro Supervisor J. Douglas McCarthy, Red Bud District Supervisor Blaine Dunn, and Back Creek District Supervisor Shawn Graber opposed it.

More than two years ago, Pennsylvania-based Mission Critical Partners evaluated the county’s existing public safety radio system and identified numerous problems with it, including limited capacity, no spectrum broadcast nationwide, and a limited number of operational channels in case the primary shipping channels were congested. Some parts of the system were installed more than 20 years ago.

Four vendors responded to the county’s RFP to replace the system. Mission Critical Partners helped develop the RFP and facilitated RFP assessment and supplier negotiations. In November, an internal working group of system users known as the Communications Committee, made up of representatives from the sheriff’s office, fire and rescue services, and emergency services, recommended that the board select EF Johnson.

Before the board vote on Wednesday night, Motorola Solutions Account Manager Jeremy Thomas urged managers to reconsider the award of the contract to EF Johnson. Motorola was one of the vendors considered for the project. Thomas said Motorola has more experience than EF Johnson and provides superior service.

Wayne Duff of L3Harris Technologies – another potential vendor – said the $ 20 million cost was too high.

“This project you see tonight is a $ 15 million maximum project,” said Duff. “I would strongly encourage the board to consider this decision.”

McCarthy, Dunn, and Graber wanted the board to end the existing RFP and get a second opinion to evaluate it. They said they were concerned that Mission Critical Partners offered inconsistent or inaccurate information throughout the process. Dunn said adding more potential vendors to the conversation would create more competition – and likely result in the county getting a new radio system at a lower cost.

“I want the best system that Frederick Counties can get at the best price,” said Dunn. “You heard the comment from the L3Harris representative. He made a comment a few days ago saying they could get the deal for $ 14-15 million. I want to say, “Let’s put them in place and see if that’s true.” That’s a fair comment. We have potential savings of $ 5 million to $ 6 million. Why don’t you want this “

However, the other regulators wanted to continue with the recommendations of the communications committee.

“We started this process of replacing our public safety communication system almost two years ago in 2019,” said Stegmaier. “Two years, Mr. Chairman, and that doesn’t even include the additional 30 months that would be required to set up the infrastructure and get the new communication system operational. Mr. Chairperson and Members, every day we continue to delay this critical project that is currently failing, [we are] We must unnecessarily endanger our firefighters, our deputies, our correctional officers, our students, teachers and school support staff, as well as our citizens. “

The district hopes to start building the new radio system this year, but the exact date has not yet been set.

Also at the meeting, the Board of Directors has:

For the 2022 fiscal year capital budget, Winchester Regional Airport has been allocated $ 4.5 million. Frederick County only contributes $ 53,818 to the airport’s budget but has to provide the $ 4.5 million as it acts as the airport’s financial agent.

27.26 acres in the Back Creek District were added to the South Frederick Agricultural and Forestal District, preventing the development of the land. Walter Nelson and Barbara Snapp Nelson asked to add the land to the district. The package is located on West Oaks Lane, northwest of Cedar Creek Grade.

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