LA-RICS Procurement Process Starts Over (7/29/11)
Friday, July 29, 2011 | Comments

By Sandra Wendelken
The LMR and Long Term Evolution (LTE) procurement process by the Los Angeles Regional Interoperability Communications Systems (LA-RICS) authority was restarted, said an LA-RICS official. The decision was made July 28 at a special meeting of the board of directors of LA-RICS.

“We had to restart the procurement,” said Patrick Mallon, LA-RICS executive director. “There were some issues related to the process and some legal restrictions that the state has on contracting.”

Los Angeles County won $154.6 million in Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) funds to build LA-SafetyNet, a 700 MHz public-safety broadband network extending across all of Los Angeles County. The LTE network was expected to have almost 300 wireless sites using new and existing infrastructure, fixed microwave backhaul rings, and 100 miles of high-capacity fiber backbone. LA-SafetyNet was part of the procurement that will be restarted.

The contract also included a mission-critical voice network to support more than 34,000 first responders and local public-safety officials within the region. The total system price tag would be around $700 million.

Mallon said LA-RICS will revise its request for proposals (RFP) and plans to present it to the board at its Aug. 4 regularly scheduled meeting. “We are trying to put together a critical path schedule,” Mallon said. “We’re already beginning the work effort. It will be a very aggressive schedule.”

LA-RICS was in negotiations with Raytheon to finalize the contract. The Los Angeles County Counsel's Office then notified the LA-RICS Authority staff that they were conducting an evaluation of its procurement process. “We were in active negotiations until two to three weeks ago when they were put on hold as we worked on these issues,” Mallon said.

"I’m disappointed in the decision from the sense that there’s been a tremendous amount of effort put into it by LA-RICS staff and the vendors, Raytheon and Motorola Solutions, but I believe it was the correct decision to take,” Mallon said.

Mike Bostic, Raytheon director of customer advocacy, said he is disappointed with the decision, which unravels three years of work. Raytheon officials were told the negotiations ended because of a combination of protests by Motorola Solutions and the way the request for proposals (RFP) was written.

He said Raytheon plans to respond to the next RFP.

"The sad part of things when they blow up like this, is that the public-safety community loses every time," said Bostic. "Millions of dollars of grant money is at stake. Here we are 10 years after 9/11, and we can’t get procurements done to improve interoperability.

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