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Judge backs decision on prison phone contract

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – An administrative law judge Monday backed the Florida Department of Corrections in a battle about a contract to provide telephone service for inmates in state prisons.

Securus Technologies, Inc. filed a protest in December after the department announced it planned to award the contract to competitor Global Tel*Link Corp. In a 39-page recommended order, however, Administrative Law Judge Lynne A. Quimby-Pennock rejected arguments raised by Securus.

“The undersigned (judge) concludes that DOC’s decision to award the contract to GTL is not clearly erroneous, contrary to competition, or arbitrary or capricious,” Quimby-Pennock wrote. “DOC did not act in an arbitrary or capricious manner. All vendors were provided a fair and equal opportunity to compete for the contract award. DOC concluded that except for the difference in the vendors’ base contract terms, both Securus and GTL seemingly presented very comparable and competitive offers to DOC. That Securus was out-negotiated is not a basis upon which a legal challenge may be sustained. The ITN (invitation to negotiate) process inherently relies upon and necessitates vendor competition, in terms of both pricing and negotiation strategy. Securus failed to show any credible or reliable evidence that DOC’s violated its governing statutes, rules, or policies in awarding GTL the contract.”

Under administrative law, the recommended order needs to go back to the department for a final decision.