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Roswell OKs agreement for unified radio system
by Joan Durbin
December 19, 2012 01:22 PM | 3695 views | 4 4 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Roswell city council members on Monday gave the green light to an agreement with five other north Fulton cities to begin putting together a jointly shared emergency radio system.

The agreement calls for Sandy Springs to take the lead in procuring various elements of a new system, with each individual contract for equipment and services to be OK’d by each of the other signatories. In addition to Sandy Springs and Roswell, those cities are Johns Creek, Milton and Alpharetta.

Mountain Park will also be on the system but will not be contributing monetarily, City Administrator Kay Love said last week.

The cities in the new system will be buying Motorola radios, piggybacking onto an existing state contract that has already negotiated the pricing.

But before council could vote on the intergovernmental agreement, the area sales manager for Harris Corporation got up to ask that his company have an opportunity to bid on supplying the radios. “We and Motorola are the leading providers of these central communication systems for public safety,” said Russ Prindle, a Roswell resident.

In a review of the five cities’ needs, Prindle said it appeared that his company could save them up to 10 percent in cost. He said Georgia counties such as Henry, Floyd and the city of Rome realized similar savings with his company. “All we are asking is that you look at going to bid for your radio system equipment,” Prindle said.

But Mayor Jere Wood said he had to listen to technical experts in this decision. “We’re getting the recommendation from staff to sole source this product because they feel there is a difference in the products,” the mayor said. “The other cities have all concurred. I am not confident in second guessing the decision of someone I trust and who has a lot more experience in what they need.”

Roswell Police Capt. Ed Sweeney, who is the city’s representative on the five cities’ technology committee, said Harris has too few emergency radio systems up and running to adequately judge the equipment and its effectiveness, while Motorola has many such systems already installed. “Our review was more technical than contractual,” he said. Sweeney also said buying radios that are different from what surrounding jurisdictions are using would make it very difficult to have seamless communications operations, he added. Love told council that if the intergovernmental agreement was approved, in all likelihood the contract would not be bid out.

“Motorola is what this agreement contemplates to move forward with the system design,” she said. Roswell’s capital contribution to the new system is estimated to be $4.2 million.

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