MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County 9-1-1 Board unanimously approved the purchase of a new computer aided dispatch system for use at the city and county dispatch centers.
The total price for the new system by EmergiTech will be over $489,000. The 9-1-1 Software Selection Committee recommended the EmergiTech system over proposals provided by three other vendors.
The proposals provided were sealed, and on the advice of Knox County Assistant Prosecutor Chip McConville, committee members declined to discuss some of the details of the proposals during the open meeting.
9-1-1 Board member and Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis posed several questions to the committee members during the open portion of the meeting regarding the system proposals and the selection process.
“We’re about to give stamp to $480,000,” Mavis said. “There were apparently numbers that came out of another that would have been of a competitive nature.”
Mount Vernon Police Capt. George Hartz, a member of the selection committee, said committee members were not comfortable with the performance of the other system in question in the dispatch centers’ environments, and a performance bond was not provided by the vendor.
Board member and Mount Vernon Fire Chief Shawn Christy said the selection process was not taken lightly by himself and fellow committee members — Fredericktown EMS Chief Rick Lanuzza, Knox County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Bill Watson, Hartz and John Hammond of the Knox County EMS Board.
“This is the end product of hours and hours of work,” Christy said.
He said committee members visited dispatch centers in other counties, and also met with vendors. He said he was excited about the opportunity to bring a new system to the county.
“There’s pros and cons, but when you put the whole package together,” Christy said, citing the EmergiTech’s reputation and reliability, “this is what we’re looking for.”
The Mount Vernon Police Department has used EmergiTech’s software for the past 10 years. The written recommendation provided by the selection committee to 9-1-1 board members called the software a “sound and proven product.”
Hartz told the board the new system will allow the two dispatch centers to share information about suspects which has been approved by the providing law enforcement agency.
The recommendation also said EmergiTech’s system will allow county fire agencies to enter pre-plan and fire inspection information into a centralized database, making information sharing easier during a large-scale event.
Hammond said individual departments would be able to purchase software to be used on firefighting apparatus computers which would allow them to know more details about a residence to which they are responding.
He gave examples of a patient with previous cardiac problems, or someone with a large volume of guns or ammunition stored at the home.
Mavis and Hammond asked why the details of the proposals were not being made public. Lanuzza and Christy said the process being followed on the advice of the prosecutor was chosen for the current selection process.
Mavis expressed concern with not discussing the details of the other proposals.
“Frankly, I’ve been around government a long time, and this is the first time I’ve experienced this and I’m not comfortable with it,” Mavis told the board members.
“The sealed process is a relatively new process,” Lanuzza said.
“I don’t see what’s so secret about a price,” Mavis said. “Were they in the ball park?”
“The number for the software was not that far off,” Hartz told him.
Mavis requested the discussion be temporarily tabled during the meeting until McConville could be reached by telephone for clarification.
The board then interviewed two candidates for the citizen-at-large position on the board to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Mary Ellen Baugher, who served on the board for over 10 years.
Cale Grubb and Reuben Clark were interviewed separately by the board. Grubb serves on the Fredericktown EMS Board; Clark is the systems administrator for ECR and the emergency coordinator of the Knox County Amateur Radio Emergency Services.
Board members said they were impressed with both candidates and the experience they would bring to the position. Members elected Grubb to fill the position.
Knox County Commissioner Teresa Bemiller was chosen to serve as chairwoman of the 9-1-1 Board. Mavis was chosen as vice chairman.
After conferring with McConville, Blubaugh told the board more specific discussion of the other proposals for the CAD system would only be discussed in executive session because property issues were to be discussed.
The board adjourned into executive session for several minutes. After leaving executive session, Lanuzza moved to enter into a contract with EmergiTech to purchase the new system. Christy seconded the motion, which was then approved.
Mavis said after the meeting that he was unfamiliar with the new sealed proposal process, but felt his questions had been adequately addressed during the executive session.