LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Angeles County leaders have put the county at
risk of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds by voting to
scrap years of planning for a vast emergency communications system and restart
the search for companies to build the complex project, it was reported today.
The decision taken Thursday came three years after officials from the
county and the many independent cities within its borders launched the massive
project, which is expected to cost about $700 million to design and build,
according to the Los Angeles Times.
The system is intended to allow the scores of police, fire and other
emergency-response agencies in the county to communicate during major incidents
such as an earthquake or terrorist attack.
The idea for the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications
System, which would be one of the largest and most complex of its kind, came
out of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which found emergency responders in New York
City hard-pressed to communicate easily.
The plan to construct the system had reached its final stage as
negotiators spent the last several months in private contract talks with the
technology company Raytheon. The Times reported.
In early June, however, county attorneys raised concerns that the nearly
completed contract violated state rules on how contracts for publicly funded
projects must be structured and awarded, Patrick Mallon, the project’s
executive director, told The Times.
Negotiations with Raytheon were suspended as the lawyers and project
staff examined the issue, he said.
Members of Mallon’s staff say that to comply with the state’s rules, the
project should be divided into three contracts — one to design and implement
the technological component of the system, a second to design the signal towers
and other structures that need to be built, and a third to build the towers and
other structures, The Times reported.
Mallon said he could not explain why the code issue did not surface
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