Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 27, 2014

County pushes network upgrade forward

Niagara Gazette — Niagara County legislators will consider awarding a bid next week to a company that will provide data equipment for a new countywide network. But there seems to be some question to what the bid actually is.

This week, the Legislature’s Public Works and Administration committees both approved a resolution awarding the countywide network bid to Advance 2000 of Amherst. The resolution says “in an amount not to exceed $715,091.”

But that figure was the one sponsoring Legislator Randy R. Bradt, R-North Tonawanda came up with, by taking Advance’s base bid and adding in costs for bonding, training, adjusted maintenance costs and routers.

Lawmakers didn’t see that figure on any other bid documents. And it’s the latest change in the bids for the network award.

Advance originally was the low bidder, but lost the award when county officials and two consultants decided Advance left out some items in their bid and had equipment that didn’t meet specifications.

Larry Helwig, the county’s information technology director, and consultants from ECC Technology and Cannon Design declared that IPLogic, another Amherst company, was the real low bidder. Lawmakers said they had a number of questions about the change in bids.

In the Administration committee’s Tuesday meeting, Minority Leader Dennis Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, said the entire bidding process was complete chaos.

”This whole process has been like an episode of the Three Stooges,” he said. “I’ve never seen an RFP process so screwed up.” 

Virtuoso and Legislator David E. Godfrey, R-Wilson, were the no-votes in the committee’s 3-2 decision to send the resolution to the full Legislature. The matter will be on the Legislature’s March 4 meeting agenda.

Majority Leader Richard E. Updegrove, R-Lockport, committee chairman Anthony J. Nemi, I-Lockport and Bradt voted in favor of the resolution.

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