The main cause of concern among the council was the fact the other cities - Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton - have already procured a vendor for the system without putting the contract out for bid.
“It did not follow a competitive bid process,” said Johns Creek Councilmember Post 5 Kelly Stewart. “That is why we’re not going to do this.”
At the Dec. 20 North Fulton Municipal Association meeting, the Sandy Springs city manager told the mayors that they had been offered an end-of-the-year discount from Motorola if they entered into an agreement with them by Dec. 31.
At that point, the other cities had already signed the IGA. Sandy Springs, which is taking the lead in purchasing the various elements for the system, approved Phase One of the purchasing through the state contract list instead of an open bid.
Representatives from Kenwood USA Corporation and Harris Corporations - two locally based communications and information technology companies - spoke at the Johns Creek council meeting stating they did not have a chance to bid on the project.
"The path that the other north Fulton cities are heading down has been a non-competitive, non-open bid process," said Russ Prindle with Harris Corporation. "We believe that what's in the best interest of the city is to go into a fair, open, competitive bid process to take a look at all the vendors and all the systems that are available and all the system solutions for the city."
The other cities have indicated there will be a request for proposal process for items not under the state contract process.
Fulton County is currently working on a new system that will encompass the whole county, and Johns Creek Councilmember Post 2 Brad Raffensperger said that - aside from the bid process - he was concerned that taxpayers would be paying into two systems while only one was utilized in the city.
Several councilmembers said they thought the intent behind the IGA was fine, but the process so far has not been acceptable.
“I think that the cause is noble, and that is to take an outdated system and to replace it with a system that is both reliable and cost-effective,” said Mayor Mike Bodker. “I think the process may have actually defeated the second part of that, and that is whether it is cost-effective or not.”
Along with the motion not to enter into the IGA, Johns Creek Council moved to let City Manager John Kachmar to look into any and all options as the city moves forward in deciding where to go with the radio systems. Options include staying with Fulton County, going out on their own or joining with neighboring counties.