Lake County consolidated 911 group frustrated with progress on plans
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent January 17, 2013 5:00PM
Updated: February 19, 2013 3:08PM
Frustration over a lack of progress on plans for the Lake County consolidated E-911 center have commission members questioning everything from the project’s consultants to the way design and equipment is being bid.
Lake County Public Safety Committee members Thursday discussed the best and quickest way to move the project forward. Those plans include considering replacements for two key consulting firms, the project engineer IYP and architect RQAW Inc.
“… for us to have spent $500,000 and having nothing is not in the best interest of what the community is trying to do,” commission assistant chair Steve Scheckel, Munster’s police chief, said.
Since IYP was hired three years ago the county has paid close to $500,000 for work, county officials said.
Scheckel said the commission must shoulder some of responsibility for the failed request for proposal issued in late 2012. While contractors said the RFP was too vague to bid and exposed them to too much potential liability, that vagueness in part is the commission’s fault for not providing IYP with better direction.
Outgoing commission chair Fred Frego, St. John police chief, said while he respects the commitment of both consultants, the feedback from vendors attempting to bid the project raised serious concerns and has him questioning the consultant’s ability to carry the project to fruition.
Frego said three of the four vendors he and Scheckel,, met with said based on the request for proposal put out they could not bid the project and questioned the ability of the firms that drew up the RFPs to follow the project through to implementation. The fourth would not submit a bid, he said.
Scheckel said regardless of what the commission does concerning the engineering and architecture contracts, members need to consider abandoning the RFP process altogether in the interest of getting the project back on schedule.
“I think we got so off into the weeds with the RFP we lost sight of the picture,” Scheckel said.
He asked commission members to consider using the state’s approved QPA (Quantity Purchase Award) vendor the way police departments use the contracts to buy squad cars. Using the QPA list vendor will eliminate the bidding process and allow the commission’s engineers to work directly with the vendor to create the system.
Board members deferred a decision on the two consultant contracts until next month so members have time to review responses to the Lake County Commissioners’ requests for qualifications for potential replacements. Both companies may also participate in the process, officials said.
At that time they will further discuss whether to attempt the RFP process again or use the state approved list.