Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

April 22, 2013

Radio project oversights could cost $330k


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — “We know there are surprises along the way, that’s construction, but some of these changes are disturbing,” Godfrey said.

“It will be thoroughly vetted and discussed as to who’s responsible,” Glatz said, adding that he thinks the county deserves an especially “good” explanation for the changes in the North Tonawanda tower.

“As a professional, I think there’d have to be a very good justification. One hundred twenty five feet is not a slight variation,” he said. “It’s certainly not a given that the county will cover that cost.”

The construction changes likely will cause a delay in unveiling of the new communication system, the officials said. The system was supposed to be operational by the end of this year, while the county still has a one-year FCC waiver on narrowbanding compliance. Another waiver can be sought, Glatz said.

Motorola won the county’s emergency radio upgrade business in December 2011, after months of informal, then formal, bidding that pitted it against Rochester-based Harris Corporation. The competing vendors offered different systems, both originally priced around $20 million. Kimball worked with the vendors to tweak their plans and cut their prices.

The back-and-forth brought Motorola’s “last, best offer” down to $15 million, and Harris’ to $12 million, which the Legislature was poised to take — until Motorola cried foul over the county’s lack of formal bid specifications, meaning a statement of what, exactly, it wanted built.

In response to a later formal Request For Proposals, Harris again offered its $12 million system and Motorola proposed a $7.3 million system.

Motorola is furnishing new portable radios for all firefighters and police officers in the county, and related equipment, for another $2 million.

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