Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Commissioners Balk at New Costs for Emergency Radios

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Commissioners Balk at New Costs for Emergency Radios

Article excerpt

GREEN COVE SPRINGS -- The dispute between Clay County and a

company that failed to deliver a law enforcement communications

system with countywide coverage might be headed for court,

county commissioners said.

The commission voted Tuesday to give the company, E.F. Johnson,

an additional 30 days to work out details of a plan to correct

the $2.5 million system's transmission problems.

But several commissioners said they were not inclined to share

the cost of additional equipment and transmission towers sites

needed to implement the plan, as E.F. Johnson proposed.

If other financial arrangements cannot be made, the county

might pursue legal action against the company, said Commissioner

Dale Wilson, chairman of the county's Telecommunications

Committee.

"If something can't be worked out to satisfy the county's

contractual rights, the committee would recommend litigation,"

he said. "The product we bought we want to get for what we paid

for it."

In 1995, the county contracted with E.F. Johnson to install an

emergency 800 megahertz radio system to replace an aging VHF

radio system. The new system was to keep local police, fire and

rescue workers in communication with each other and their

respective agencies -- throughout 95 percent of the county.

But the company failed to meet its promise of having the system

fully functional within 18 months. Tests conducted after the new

equipment was installed last fall showed a 27 percent failure

rate on the system, which is set up to allow public safety

agencies within one geographical area to share the same

transmission tower and frequency.

The company was given three extensions on its contract to

resolve the problems; the last one expired Sept. 30.

E.F. Johnson officials have said they intend to live up to

their contract. But at a Telecommunications Committee meeting

last week, they said the fix would take a year to implement,

require three additional transmission towers, increased height

on the existing five towers and a $1. …

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