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County Executive's Office

Dane County Takes Next Steps Toward Construction of New Interoperable Radio System

January 05, 2011
Joshua Wescott, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
County Executive

 After Thorough Re-bid and Review Process, Harris Corporation Selected as Preferred Vendor


Dane County will begin contract negotiations with Harris Corporation for construction of a new version of a countywide interoperable communications network, Acting County Executive Scott McDonell announced today.


“By working with our local government and public safety partners, we’re ready to move forward and begin contract talks with the company we think is best suited to build a state-of-the-art interoperable radio system for our responders,” McDonell said.  “Because we stuck with this and worked toward a compromise, we’re closer to building an improved radio system that will help keep our communities and public safety responders safe.” 


“Dane County taxpayers will save millions of dollars over the life of this new system because we redesigned and re-bid this important project,” Kathleen Falk said. 


Harris Corporation was one of four companies that submitted proposals to the county for review when the county issued a new request for proposals (RFP) in October.  The project was re-bid because its design, scope, and cost changed.


An independent review panel with representatives from Dane County, the Dane County Cities and Villages Association, and the Dane County Towns Association, along with representatives of various public safety agencies read through many hundreds of pages of proposals, sat in on multiple days worth of very technical presentations, and worked with an independent engineering firm hired by the county to help determine which vendor was best suited to meet the needs of responders across Dane County.


Technical capabilities and systems were thoroughly reviewed and it was determined that Harris Corporation best responded to the requirements of the RFP.


“Because this project was re-sized and re-bid, we’re in a position to bring significant savings for taxpayers while greatly improving the ability of our police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians to communicate,” Verona Mayor Jon Hochkammer said.  Hochkammer is President of the Dane County Cities and Villages Association.


“Dane County citizens will get a better value thanks to hard work by Scott McDonell, Kathleen Falk and John DeJung to work for a revised proposal and manage the process. It’s a model for cooperation which we should follow in the future,” said Mark Hazelbaker, who represented the Dane County Towns Association in the selection process.


Final cost figures for the project won’t be determined until completion of contract talks, but McDonell noted there was a significant difference in cost estimates between the four vendors.


“We won’t have exact dollar amounts for a few weeks yet, but all indications are the county and the towns, cities, and villages partnering on this project will see substantial savings from what we originally thought the costs of both construction and the ongoing yearly maintenance would be,” McDonell said.


Exact technical details of the project will be available upon completion of contract negotiations, but Harris Corporation met the requirements as laid out in the county’s RFP.


Technical design and system capabilities were 75% of the evaluation used to select the preferred vendor.  Cost estimates were 25%.


Construction of the new interoperable system is scheduled to begin this summer and be completed in late 2012.