Harris Takes Protest of Florida SLERS Contract Award to Appeals Court
Thursday, November 15, 2018 | Comments

Harris will appeal Florida’s award of a contract for a new statewide radio system to Motorola Solutions.

On Nov. 1, Harris filed a notice that it plans to appeal the Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) with Florida’s First District Court of Appeals. Under state law, Harris has 70 days, or until early January, to file a brief supporting its appeal.

The Florida Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS) provides communications for law enforcement and other agencies across the state of Florida. The current SLERS system is EDACS, but the state plans to upgrade to Project 25 (P25) for improved interoperability between law enforcement agencies because of P25’s nonproprietary nature.

Earlier this year, Harris filed a protest over the award of the contract to Motorola with the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH). In that protest, Harris argued that there were several key flaws in the DMS’ decision-making process in awarding the contract.

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) J. Bruce Culpepper ruled that DMS did not err in awarding the contract to Motorola and recommended that the department proceed with its award to Motorola.

The DMS then released a final order in early October that formally denied Harris’ protest of the award. Harris then had 30 days to file an appeal of that decision with the Florida Court of Appeals.

Max Green, vice president of sales and customer experience for Harris, said that the state should refresh the old network and upgrade it to P25 instead of going the more expensive route of building an entirely new system. Green pointed to how the network held up during Hurricane Michael in October as proof of the effectiveness of the current network.

In a letter to Harris following the Hurricane, DMS Chief of Public Safety Matthew Matney praised the performance of the network, noting that the network remained operational during the storm and was completely operational within 96 hours of the storm making landfall.

“The Florida Department of Management Services selected Motorola Solutions for their new public-safety statewide radio system based on our decades of experience throughout Florida and the nation,” a Motorola statement said. “Their selection was confirmed by the state’s administrative law judge. We look forward to begin building this new cutting-edge interoperable communications system for Florida first responders and the people they protect.”

The current SLERS contract began in 2000 and runs through June 20, 2021. The contract for the new system will include a transition period of up to four years during which the vendor will not be paid. The 15-year payment period for the new contract will begin July 1, 2021, at the earliest.

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