TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The state wants to make sure first responders can talk to each other during an emergency, even if they're from different agencies, but selecting a vendor is proving to be a daunting task.
“You know a law enforcement officer from one county not being able to speak to another county when they're rushing to a disaster,” said Joseph Goldstein, an Attorney representing the Division of Management Services.
The state selected Motorola for the contract to create an improved system.
It would cover 95% of the state and make it easier for law enforcement to communicate across agency.
But the previous vendor, Harris Corporation, is arguing the Division of Management Services improperly awarded the contract to Motorola.
It also alleges Motorola’s proposed design has flaws that could make the public less safe.
“The design proposed by Motorola is unreliable, because it uses certain microwave lengths that are subject to rain fade or rain attenuation,” said Karen Walker, an Attorney representing Harris Corp.
Motorola says Harris Corporation is dragging out the process, out of spite.
“The treatment for the movie would be: incumbent vendor loses huge long term contract, here up to 25 years, to its major business competitor,” said Robert Vezina, an attorney representing Motorola.
Harris held the state contract since 2000.
The deal cost the state $18 million a year.
No matter who ends up with the contract the annual price tag will millions of dollars higher than before, but Motorola’s deal would cost the state $300 million less than Harris’ over time.
Arguments will be made throughout the week. The administrative judge will then have the final say on whether Motorola keeps the contract.