Monday, November 2, 2015

Harris again picked to run E-911

An independent consultant has recommended that the city and county hire Harris Communications to manage the area’s emergency radio system rather than hook onto the state program – marking the second time the company has received the go-ahead.

The Knox County E-911 Board in mid-September agreed to pay Pennsylvania-based Blue Wing Inc. almost $40,000 to determine the best direction to take the system.

The report, which was not immediately available, was submitted to the county’s purchasing department Friday.

“The next step is that Blue Wing will present their findings to the full board and we’ll be there to answer questions to the board about the findings,” said Knox County Purchasing Director Hugh Holt, who declined to comment further.

The board meets at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 9.

The move comes after months of debate that started when a selection committee picked Harris Communications and then the board refused to award the company a $9 million contract.

Instead, a number of members suggested the county should stick with Motorola Solutions, which has served the E-911 Center for more than 25 years.

Then members started talking about joining a state-operated system, so in April they sought out a consultant to determine if that was the right course. The problem? The company officials picked wanted additional work and roughly $225,000 more than the center was ready to provide.

So, back to the drawing board, and last month Blue Wing Inc. was picked out of eight companies that submitted proposals.

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