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Monday, July 18, 2011

Don't touch that dial

Last Thursday's Trib story about the spendy new police radio system that the City of Portland is planning to buy had some really interesting material buried at the end of it. It implicitly raised the question whether the fix was in -- whether it was already pre-ordained that Motorola was going to get the lucrative contract -- even though a case could be made that other firms should be invited to bid on the job. Veteran reporter Jim Redden laid it between the lines this way:

During a December 2010 council briefing, Klum and Greinke said options for choosing the replacement system include soliciting requests from qualified companies or entering into a sole source contract with Motorola, the company given the contract to replace the system’s controller.

Although the final decision has not yet been made, Motorola may already have the upper hand in winning the contract to replace the radio system, according to the minutes of a public safety systems program advisory body.

The Radio Project Oversight Committee was appointed to provide an independent review of the project as it proceeds. At its March 22 meeting, project manager Larson told the committee about the previous Motorola contract to stabilize the controller. Board member Shea Marshman asked if there were any concerns that the work performed by Motorola might cause any difficulties if the city went with a different system provider in the future.

According to the meeting’s minutes, "Larson said there was a risk in having to replace the controller again if the city went to another vendor; that would be part of the analysis, asking the questions – does it make sense to go out to another vendor? Does it make sense to try to migrate our system onto a current Motorola system? Does it make sense to go out to RFP (request for proposals)? Larson said those are the kinds of analyses that need to be completed to make sure the city is looking at the right things."

Motorola was also the biggest contributor to the campaign in support of the public safety bond measure that is funding most of the radio replacement project. The company contributed $35,000 to the campaign.

The only other equipment provider contributing to the campaign was Emerson Electric, which donated $500.

Hmmmmm... you give five figures to one of you-know-who's pet political causes... then you get a $50 million contract...

Comments (3)

Pretty nice ROI. Cut me a slice!

First radio broadcast of the new system:

"Calling all Cons, Calling all Cons"

Very funny Ralph. Who gets the bond underwriting? Call GS...

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