Thursday, February 12, 2015

Email: Police chief concerned about being 'whoodood' with radio contract

Members of the E-911 Board meet
For weeks, Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch and Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones have refused to say why they wanted to let a proposed $9 million radio system contract with Harris Corp. die.

Emails released Thursday, however, show Rausch and some other members of the Knox County 911 Board repeatedly and for months privately discussed their concerns about Harris, apparently in violation of the state sunshine law.

Rausch, in fact, sought out fellow board member Jones in a May 2014 email to warn him against supporting Harris, which was being recommended in a formal review process as the best vendor to provide the system for thousands of police officers, deputies, firefighters and emergency responders.

"...I think we are getting ready to get whoodood with this new radio system," the May 7, 2014, Rausch email states. "We need to stop this process and reconsider what is going on. I have major concerns with the way the decision has gone. Plus, it was the highest cost of all three. I think the Board needs to speak up and let the Director know that we need to stop where we are and talk about this before we go any further. Thanks! David."

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero acknowledged Thursday some of those involved in the process who are also board members may have violated the state sunshine law, meant to prohibit two or more members of a public board or body from deliberating outside public scrutiny. The law covers elected officials as well as others who serve on public boards and bodies.

The emails also show communication between Rausch and board member Ken Knight, including one in which they agreed to meet shortly before the January board meeting.

Also, KPD Deputy Chief Gary Holliday traded emails with Scott Tidwell, a former KPD employee who had gone on to work as a senior account manager with Motorola Solutions, one of those firms competing for the radio system contract.

Holliday has acted at times as Rogero's proxy on the board.

For story RIGHT HERE.

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