County commissioners OK phone system upgrade for Sheriff’s Office

Audrey Caro

The Linn County Board of Commissioners approved a contract to update the Linn County Sheriff’s Office phone system at their Sept. 19 meeting.

LCSO budgeted $200,000 for the 2016-17 fiscal year to update their “1984-era Toshiba phone system to a Voice-over Internet Protocol system,” Lt. Micah Smith said in the memo that accompanied the resolution and order.

The Sheriff’s Office was not able to “execute a project plan” last fiscal year, but carried the money forward.

“We have developed a solid project and implementation plan with a local, experienced vendor,” Smith said.

The resolution and order is to purchase a full VoIP system using AVAYA Solutions through a King County Directors’ Association cooperative purchasing contract for $117,672.15. The first year’s maintenance cost estimate will be $21,709.42 and 10D Voice, of Corvallis, will “engineer, install, configure, train and deploy the purchased system for the total amount of $199,381.57,” according to Smith’s memo.

The King County Directors’ Association is a purchasing cooperative owned by Washington’s public school districts, according to the association’s website.

Commissioner Roger Nyquist said he had concerns about not using a competitive bid process for this contract.

“Tell me how you know we’re not paying more than we should be paying,” he asked Smith.

Smith said LCSO held off on presenting a similar package to commissioners last December after doing research with Linn County General Services.

He said General Services Building Maintenance Specialist Greg Hart, who was present at the Sept. 19 meeting, had done competitive bid process for similar systems five times. Each time, 10D Voice won, Smith said.

“I agree with your sentiment that competitive bid can often garner a reduction because they’re out there and they’re chasing work and they’re submitting competitive bids,” Smith said. “However, I’ve also seen that work against us because of the cost of submitting a bid and putting a proposal together, we’re not seeing the full realization of costs versus the cooperative purchase.”

Linn County Administrative Officer Ralph Wyatt said there was a competitive bid process through KCDA.

“The KCDA price sheet came out through competitive bid and they hold the cooperative contract to purchase off of that existing competitive bid so that we don’t have to go out and do competitive bid,” Smith said. “KCDA already did.”

Nyquist said he appreciated Smith’s response but asked if the system would hold up five years from now given changes in technology.

“I think where we’re at when we move into a digital platform like this, is more agile to adapt to those changes in technology than we are with our current 1984 Toshiba system,” Smith said.

They are no longer able to update the Toshiba system, he said.

“The beauty of this (new) system over others is how tightly it integrates with our 911 system and we’ve vetted that from top to bottom and left to right,” Smith said.