County sued over radio contract
Williams Communications sues Wakulla County over giving $12M contract to Motorola for new first responder system
By WILLIAM SNOWDEN Editor
Attorneys for a Tallahassee communications company filed a lawsuit against the Wakulla County Commission on Friday, March 17, seeking to top a decision by commissioners on Monday, March 20 to award a multi-million dollar radio contract to Motorola.
The lawsuit contends that Motorola’s proposal does not meet the county’s requirements set forth in its Request for Proposal.
Under advice from County Attorney Heather Encinosa that the lawsuit did not mean commissioners could not go forward with the award of the contract, commissioners did just that, voting unanimously to go with Motorola.
The county is purchasing a $17 million public safety radio system to expand coverage for first responders. Some $12 million of the cost is being underwritten by Triumph Gulf Coast, the entity created to spend money in counties affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Officials with Williams Communications appeared at the meeting to ask commissioners to delay the vote and look into the concerns. Brian Coker of Williams told the board: “You’re clearly not getting what you’re asking for.”
The complaint filed in Wakulla Circuit Court contends “Motorola omitted key coverage data from its proposal to the county and misrepresented its compliance with the RFP requirements... in order to reduce system infrastructure costs, utilize a non-compliant radio configuration, and deviate from the industry standards for reliability imposed by the county’s RFP.”
A representative of Motorola was at the meeting and denied the claims being made by Williams.
Commissioners indicated they were relying on their consultant, Nick Tusa of Tusa Consulting Services, who had indicated Motorola’s proposal did meet the requirements of the RFP. (Tusa’s contract with the county was approved at the same meeting under the consent agenda.) Tusa was not at the commission meeting.
It was noted that Williams did not include Tusa as a defendant in its lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, Williams contends that, “Buried in hundreds of pages of the Motorola proposed contract with the county (which Williams recently received in response to public records requests) are terms of system configuration, loss factor values, and coverage testing terms that reveal the county will receive far inferior coverage to that required by the RFP, a fact that should be well known to the county’s designated expert consultant for this project, Tusa Conulting Inc., who designed this RFP and utilizes a coverage validation tool that can confirm the above-stated facts.”