Here's a few more details about the impending upgrade to Montgomery's system.
To: Commissioner Bruce L. Castor, Jr.
From: Thomas Sullivan
Date: October 23, 2012
Re: Motorola Proposal Analysis
Enclosed is a copy of a proposal Motorola submitted on September 12, 2012 to replace
Montgomery County’s 800 MHz Emergency Dispatch Radio System, a technical review of the
proposal by L.R. Kimball, the County’s consultant on this project, with comments on that review
by members of the Department of Public Safety’s technical staff.
Based on this information, as well as input provided by the advisory committee appointed by the
County Commissioners for this project, a peer review of Kimball’s work on the project by
Mission Critical and the responses to a previous Request For Information (RFI), it is my
recommendation that the County enter into negotiations with Motorola, who would act as a solesource
provider to upgrade/replace the County’s current radio system.
Motorola’s current proposal was solicited on the recommendation of all three subcommittees of
the advisory committee that the company be asked to provide a “final and last best price” before
a decision was made on whether to seek competitive bidding on the system through a Request
For Proposal (RFP) process. The County’s consultant also concurred with this recommendation.
The subcommittees’ recommendations to approach Motorola were based, in part, on input from
Kimball representatives at the meeting when they presented their assessment of the County’s
needs. A Kimball representative stated that avoiding the expense of having to respond to an RFP
would enable Motorola to come in at a lower price than its competitors and Motorola would be
motivated to retain a customer as large as Montgomery County.
Motorola’s proposal lists a base project cost of $35 million, without any negotiation between the
parties. This figure includes roughly $29 million for the needed improvements to the system’s
infrastructure, $8.9 million for up to 2,500 mid-tier radios, with a $2.9 million credit towards the
County’s costs of upgrading the existing fire service radios. This credit would be useful in
eliminating a potential point of conflict with the fire companies. Motorola’s proposal also
includes the cost of site work needed for ten additional radio towers and improvements to
structures at existing tower sites.
This proposed $35 million figure is substantially less than the $66.8 million base project cost that
our consultant had originally estimated: $59.5 million for infrastructure, $14.6 million for new
radios and $1 million to upgrade existing fire service radios. Kimball had also estimated a
countywide microwave network would cost an additional $8.2 million, while Motorola has
proposed that it could be done at a cost of around $4.7 million.
This base price does not include certain items that the County may be interested in procuring,
such as software upgrades for an additional 1,500 existing radios ($700,000), ISSI equipment to
facilitate interoperability with neighboring counties ($200,000), GPS features ($138,000), and
over-air-rekeying ($283,000). However, even factoring in these potential additional costs, there
is still a tremendous cost savings to be had utilizing Motorola as the sole-source provider. It
should be noted that none of the proposals discussed include site acquisition costs for additional
radio towers, though the County did not request information about such costs as part of its
While Kimball has not yet been provided Motorola’s proposed pricing, in a meeting to review
the technical aspects of Motorola’s submission, their representatives estimated the cost of the
proposal to be between $55 million and $65 million, and stated that the County should engage in
negotiations even if it were as high as $70 million.
Kimballl’s technical review of Motorola’s proposal is generally positive:
“Overall, L.R. Kimball believes that system design as proposed by Motorola will meet the
majority of system design requirements necessary to satisfy the needs expressed by system users.
There are a number of design concerns noted by L.R. Kimball that must be corrected before the
system will meet user requirements. Some of these concerns may result in the need for
additional radio sites or vendor services which would increase the proposed cost.”
Members of my department’s technical staff are confident that concerns pointed out by Kimball
can be satisfactorily addressed during contract negotiations.
In the peer review that Mission Critical conducted on Kimball’s assessment of the County’s
needs, Mission Critical emphasized the operational risks associated with a “forklift replacement”
of the infrastructure by another vendor. In its response, Kimball acknowledged that Motorola
had a clear advantage over competing vendors because of its ability to use existing equipment
during the transition.
Efforts to replace the radio system have been underway for three years. Our initial estimate
when we approached the Commissioners’ office in October, 2009 was that it would cost about
$40 million to do so. Motorola was previously approached for a proposal and submitted a response in April, 2010. At that time, the base project price was $37.4 million and the proposal included 525 fewer radios and did not include the costs for site work for proposed additional towers or improvements at
existing towers. In addition, neither the potential microwave network, nor other potential
optional items, were included in the initial proposal. This proposal was rejected and a Request for Information was sent to 18 potential vendors on August 9, 2011. Four vendors responded with pricing that ranged from $18 million to $72 million. Of those four responses, only Motorola and Harris made proposals that would have met the County’s needs. Motorola’s proposal at that time had a cost of $39.8 million and Harris’ would have cost $41.5 million for a system with 30 towers and $71.2 million for a system with 52
towers. Again, the potential microwave network and other optional items were not included.
Prior to receiving these previous proposals, we had not anticipated the extent of the potential cost
savings by utilizing a sole-source vendor. It is my opinion, as well as the opinion of my staff,
that efforts undertaken in previous years, coupled with the efforts of the advisory committee
appointed by the County Commissioners this year, have resulted in a proposal from Motorola
that has very strong pricing and that will meet the needs of our public safety professionals. In
addition to the potential savings and possibility of a more robust final product, utilizing Motorola
as a sole-source provider should substantially reduce the risk of failures and outages during the
transition from the old equipment to the new equipment. It should also be noted that, during
negotiations with Motorola, the cost estimates provided should serve as a ceiling, and that
additional savings may be possible.
I recommend that the County enter into contract negotiations with Motorola based on its latest