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December 23, 2013

Essex County awards radio bid

ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County lawmakers have finally decided who they want to install 400 digital two-way radios in fire, police and ambulance vehicles countywide.

Wells Communications of Plattsburgh will do the work; the County Board of Supervisors accepted a revised price of $94,692 for the job.

The county’s new public-safety radio network goes online next year.

MATCHED LOWER BID

By weighted vote, the tally was 1,814 to hire Wells and 1,042 against. Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) and Supervisors Sharon Boisen (I-Essex), William Ferebee (R-Keene), Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah), Michael Marnell (R-Schroon), Daniel Connell (D-Westport) and Randy Preston (I-Wilmington) voted no, with Sue Montgomery Corey (D-Minerva) abstaining.

Wells had been the high bidder at $120,750, $26,000 more than the low bid from Capital Digitronics for $94,692, but it matched Capital’s price in a letter to supervisors.

Supervisor Gerald Morrow (D-Chesterfield) said Wells representatives told him they lowered their price because they felt the system would fail without Motorola’s assistance.

MOTOROLA SHOP

Awarding the contract had been delayed a month while supervisors debated whether to hire Capital or Wells.

Motorola told the county it would work only with a Motorola shop like Wells. Capital Digitronics is not a Motorola dealer.

“This thing has taken on a life of its own, but it’s an RFP (request for proposals) process,” County Attorney Daniel Manning III said at a recent county meeting.

“Experience is the major factor that swayed the award to Wells. It appears they have the most qualified people.”

“The award is not based on price.”

NEGOTIATED

“We went to RFP and had two different prices, then we let the high bidder match the low bidder,” Supervisor Daniel Connell (D-Westport) said. “I’m afraid of what this will do in the future.”

Supervisor George Canon (R-Newcomb) said the reason they did an RFP is because the prices can be negotiated.

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