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Digital radio RFP canceled
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The county's request for proposals for a $4.5 million partial upgrade of the county's analog radio system to a digital system was canceled on Thursday.

The RFP had recently come under criticism from a private resident who questioned the way the RFP was written and raised concerns that the amount spent on the system would not be enough.

Chief of Staff Greg Pridgeon said there was additional research that needed to be done. "There was some degree of concern," said Pridgeon. Canceling the RFP "allowed the county to do additional research on the project. We're moving a little quicker than we needed to," he said.

Sheriff Jeff Wigington declined to detail reasons for the cancellation but said, "I'm disappointed it's going to slow the process down and delay the process by months."

He referred additional questions to Procurement Officer Tina Malone, who referred questions to Chief of Staff Greg Pridgeon.

The upgrade is funded by $4.5 million set aside in SPLOST funding approved last year.

At the September meeting of the SPLOST Citizens Oversight Committee, resident Steve Macke raised questions on the way the RFP was written, saying it was written towards a sole-source contract. He also brought up concerns over the interoperability and cost of a digital radio system, saying the county might find itself investing more than the $4.5 million. Macke said he was a consultant who had worked for Motorola and county governments in the past but was currently speaking out as a concerned resident.

SPLOST committee members were not allowed to comment on the RFP or the questions raised because the RFP was actively out for bid until Oct. 13.

SPLOST 911 subcommittee chair Bill Hughey later explained the RFP was written to be performance based, not technical based. "When the RFP was being put together, we wanted to make sure the needs of all the users were taken into account," he said. The contract was open to any maker as long as the equipment could meet the performance standards, including providing 95 percent coverage of the area.

He also pointed out the RFP was for an upgrade, not a replacement of the total system.

"We don't have the money to go a change in the whole system and go to what I call a ‘Lexus' model."

The radio system will be addressed during the next meeting of the Fire/911 subcommittee on Oct. 17, 5 p.m. at the Rockdale County Rescue and Fire Department headquarters on 1496 Rockbridge Road.