Monday, January 26, 2015

Rogero wants to look into E-911 vote; more thoughts about the process

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero wants her staff to look into the circumstances behind last week's effective decision by the Knox County E-911 board to scrap a multimillion-dollar proposal for an emergency radio communications system.

Rogero, a member of the board who had a proxy present Jan. 21, released a statement Monday.

"I understand the questions raised about the E-911 Board meeting last week," Rogero is quoted as saying. "This has been a long and complicated process, and we are gathering relevant information so that I can understand what happened and what the next steps are. I am committed to full transparency and ensuring that we have public confidence in the actions of the Board."

Monday's statement does not indicate how long the review might take or if there's a deadline.

You can read the full story RIGHT HERE.

Some thoughts about this. The mayor doesn't exactly have to look far. She can ask her proxy what happened. Or she could actually go to these meetings herself. They're obviously important. (That goes for county Mayor Tim Burchett, too.)

Now, on to what folks will find.

My guess? A big fat nada. There more than likely is no conspiracy. The cops and the sheriff's office flat out did not want to use the Harris communications system. That's it. They don't need a secret handshake, a sneaky wink or an under-the-table thumbs up/down.

I'm not saying it's right. Not saying it's wrong.

Just saying they don't want to go with Harris. And you're not going to find the smoking gun.

Granted, it's a little sketchy because it's public dollars and there's that whole bidding thing.

Does it look right? No. It doesn't. 

Now, there's a lot of talk about the process. The truth is no one wanted to verbally disparage any of the radio companies publicly. The old "if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything" code.

It was easier for those on the board to walk away from the non-vote last Wednesday and not say anything. Again, not saying it's right.

Now, Motorola did file a protest letter. And a lot of what they said didn't hold water, and county purchasing director Hugh Holt made sure they knew it.

Shortly after, the company withdrew it's letter, but not without one final salvo.

Here's the protest letter RIGHT HERE. The county's response RIGHT HERE. And Motorola's withdrawal letter RIGHT HERE.

Now, from what I understand will happen next is that the board will move to issue and RFP (request for proposal) for the system again. However, the RFP will include a checklist and a price tag. Whichever group can check off EVERY requirement and comes in at the lowest will get the contract.

Also, it will probably move a lot quicker than 18 months if in fact they can issue something like this.

We'll see.

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