01/29/12 — County sends final list to radio system vendor

View Archive

County sends final list to radio system vendor

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 29, 2012 1:50 AM

Whether or not Wayne County's new $10 million emergency radio system is complete might be a sticking point between the county and the company doing the work, but there has been no mention of legal action by either party, Wayne County Manager Lee Smith said.

In a Jan. 12 letter to Communications International, Smith wrote, "On January 6, 2012 the County of Wayne received a letter from Communications International stating that the installation of the radio system was complete and all testing had been completed and the warranty started January 9, 2012 for the system and July 1, 2011 for user equipment.

"Wayne County does not agree that the system was complete on January 9, 2012. Below you will find a list of concerns and/or information needed before the county moves forward... All the items above must be addressed by CI before moving forward."

For the most part, the concerns center around radio interference, testing data, maps, equipment and inventory lists.

Smith remains optimistic that the system will be completed in February or early March, which falls within the one-year time frame that had been anticipated.

Even then, the county will continue to explore the possibility of additional radio frequencies to address interference issues, he said. The additional frequencies were part of the initial discussions about the system. However, the county was unable to pursue them at that time because of budget constraints.

"We are at the tail end of the contract," Smith said. "They have done the burn-in test. We have not accepted it (system). We hope to get these final issues resolved, and when we do, then we can sign off and move on and look at how we will move forward on maintenance of the system and improving frequencies.

"There is no legal action on the part of the county. What we have is a letter that went out from me about two weeks ago, 'Here are these unresolved issues that we think that we have.' We listed them and said that we need to get those things so that we can move forward."

Nor is there any legal action on the part of Communication International, he said.

"You want to keep a good partnership to the end," Wayne County Office of Emergency Services Director Joe Gurley said. "That is the last thing that we want to do, start swearing at each other right now. When you have a 1,000 to 1,200 firemen, a hundred plus EMS personnel and probably 250 law enforcement personnel for total end users, anybody can make suggestions or recommendations or comments that can speculate things like this (legal action).

"They know that we began April 4 with the cutover and that we have had briefings with all of the end users of where we are at and what we are doing. I am sure there is a lot of speculation about that. Now to the actual point of it is we have not accepted the system yet."

Before that is done, the county needs the answers to the punch list of issues, he said.

"We have some frequency interference concerns, and we want more data on that," Gurley said. "They did propagation studies on the towers. We want more information on that. We want some as-built information because what we have is from last March. So we want some current as built. There are about a dozen things that we asked for. If all of that materializes, then we will look to accept this."

As the county nears the end of a contract, it looks at whether it and the contractor have done what they were supposed to do, Smith said.

"Part of the 'as-built' Joe mentioned is an inventory of all equipment installed, all purchased," Smith said. "What Joe's folks are doing and finance is doing is looking to see if invoices match. Did we get everything that we paid for? Is everything there?

"Since April 4, there have been some antenna changes. That means some of the antennas installed before April 4 are different. That means a different type, different serial number, different model number and we need that."

That information will be needed, for example, when maintenance is done so that those doing the work will know what model the equipment is, he said.

"When you look at a $10 million contract and you are trying to wrap that up, it is big business," Smith said. "Joe's team has to go through every line and say, 'Has this been done?'

"Obviously when we sign off (county) commissioners are going to look at Lee and Joe and go, 'Did we get everything that we paid for? Did they do everything that they were supposed to do?' That is what we are verifying now, and that was part of that punch list that Joe and his folks gave to me and then I forwarded on to Communications International. We are waiting for a response and that is going to tell us how we are going to move forward on maintenance, kind of what the next steps are."