01/10/14 — Board split on radio repair

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Board split on radio repair

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 10, 2014 1:46 PM

Wayne County commissioners by a 4-3 vote Thursday night approved a $3 million contract for work they hope will cure the county's radio system woes.

Thursday's meeting continued a seven-hour marathon session Tuesday.

Unable to reach a decision after two hours of debate Tuesday, commissioners told County Attorney Borden Parker to attempt to renegotiate the performance bond portion of the contract with Cary-based Radio Communications Co.

The sticking points were the contract's shrinking performance bond and that the company doing the work did not plan to perform actual radio tests inside buildings.

Commissioner Steve Keen's motion to add inside radio testing to the negotiations was defeated by a 4-3 voteTuesday. Keen, Commissioners Bill Pate and Ray Mayo voted yes. Commissioners John Bell, Joe Daughtery, Chairman Wayne Aycock and Vice Chairman Ed Cromartie voted no.

Daughtery made a motion Tuesday to approve the contract, but then asked that the vote be delayed until Thursday's meeting.

Keen, Mayo and Pate renewed their arguments against the contract in the Thursday night session that lasted about 30 minutes. They wanted RCC to test the radios inside building and worried about inside coverage.

"I contacted the individual with Radio Communications Co., and the president of the company believed he and the county had negotiated in good faith, and he is not willing to change the contract that was presented to you on Tuesday," Parker said. "He told me he certainly wanted to be able to provide you good service and that it is his intention that you get such good service that you would recommend him to other counties or other individuals.

"But based on the advice of his lawyer, he is not willing to make any changes."

Keen then made a motion to deny the contract since the company was not willing to change the performance bond and would not do inside testing of the radios even though the testing was not part of Parker's instructions for negotiating with RCC.

Bell quickly offered an amendment to Keen's motion to approve the contract instead.

However, Aycock reminded the board that it had yet to vote on the motion made Tuesday by Daughtery.

Keen said it was his understanding that Daughtery had withdrawn the motion. Aycock told him that was not correct.

"I did not withdraw the motion," Daughtery said.

Keen repeated that it was his understanding it had been withdrawn, but went on to offer an amendment to Daughtery's motion that the board deny the contract. Bell said he was withdrawing his earlier amendment to Keen's motion.

During the ensuing discussion, Keen, Pate and Mayo continued their arguments from Tuesday's meeting that the contract did not provide assurances that the radio coverage was adequate.

Daughtery finally called for the vote on Keen's amendment to deny the contract.

Keen, Pate and Mayo voted yes. Bell, Daughtery, Aycock and Cromartie voted no.

Daughtery then called for the vote on his motion to approve the contract. He, Bell, Cromartie and Aycock voted yes. Pate, Mayo and Keen voted no.

Commissioners initially authorized the signing of the contract last fall contingent on Parker's review. They also approved drafting a budget amendment.

Keen, who was chairman at that time, and Aycock both said Thursday the amendment had not yet been signed because the contract had not been signed.

After the vote, the board met for more than an hour and a half in a closed-door meeting called for attorney-client privilege and to discuss the performance of county employees.

No action was taken when the board returned to open session and the meeting was adjourned.