November 29, 2013

Essex County radio install stalls

Lawmakers want to hear from other bidder

ELIZABETHTOWN — The installation of digital mobile radios for the new Essex County public-safety radio network has stalled in the interest of fairness.

The radios will be put in police, fire, emergency-medical and highway-department vehicles throughout the county, but one of two vendors that submitted prices will get job is still unknown.


Because the County Board of Supervisors allowed Wells Communications President Edward Kehn Jr. to address the board at a recent Ways and Means meeting, some supervisors said the other bidder, Capital Digitronics, should be given an equal opportunity to state its case.

That presentation is scheduled for the board’s regular meeting at 10 a.m. Monday.

In the meantime, the contract award has been tabled by the Board of Supervisors.

The high bid is from Wells Communications of Plattsburgh, a Motorola dealer, at $120,750, while the low bid comes from Capital Digitronics of Albany for $94,692.


Capital is not a Motorola dealer, and the radio manufacturer, Motorola Solutions, has told the county in writing that it would not honor the equipment warranties if Capital installs the radios. 

The 400 radios the county purchased for the new radio system have a three-year warranty.

Supervisor Gerald Morrow (D-Chesterfield) said the difference in bids is about $29,000 on a $17 million project.

“If these aren’t installed correctly, they won’t communicate; these radios are sophisticated radios,” he said.

Morrow said the letter from Motorola service representative Kevin Ryan said Motorola would not honor the warranty if installation is by a non-Motorola shop or dealer.


County Manager Daniel Palmer said he and County Purchasing Agent Linda Wolf reviewed the proposals and recommended Wells be awarded the contract.

“We both felt Wells should be awarded the bid based on the levels of training for the individuals who would be doing the work,” Palmer said. 

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