Plans for the San Francisco Bay Area’s much-anticipated pilot 700 MHz LTE network for public safety to be operational in time for the Urban Shield regional interoperability exercise in two weeks have been scrapped, according to an official with the Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program.

“[Project Cornerstone] is still planned to go forward, but sadly, we will not be moving forward in time for Urban Shield,” said Heather Tannehill-Plamondon, the Bay Area UASI’s director of contract administration and project management. “We’ve had some issues with some electricians doing some of our site-enhancement work, so we will not be ready to display anything for Urban Shield.”

During the past month, officials for the city of San Jose — the largest city in the Bay Area — and the county of Santa Clara have expressed concern with the procurement process used in selecting Motorola as the vendor for the Project Cornerstone 10-site pilot network and a $50.6 million broadband stimulus grant. The matter reportedly is being investigated by the San Francisco city attorney’s office.

“[The Project Cornerstone delay] has nothing to do with any of the other ancillary things that are happening,” Tannehill-Plamondon said. “It truly has everything to do with electricians and not being able to get work scheduled, because of the fact that they’re putting equipment into a mission-critical room.

“We’ve just had some timing issues with electricians and getting purchase orders cut for electrician, getting them in to get their work done. We’re anticipating probably a few weeks delay.”

In terms of the concerns raised about member jurisdictions’ concerns about the procurement process, the California Emergency Management Agency is reviewing the procurement process and is expected to deliver a report on its findings this week, Tannehill-Plamondon said.

“I think there is a lot of misinformation that’s being taken out there and moved around,” she said. “We’re very confident in the process we went through; it was a competitive selection to choose the vendor that we partnered with for BTOP. The vendor that we partnered with for BTOP was the applicant and the successful recipient of an NTIA grant.”

In a letter last month, Bay Area UASI Executive Director Laura Phillips wrote that the vendor-selection process was “fair and neutral” and criticized the high-profile release of procurement concerns to the media and key officials before an inquiry into the matter was completed.

“These activities demonstrate a lack of commitment to regional collaboration and processes and cast a shadow of doubt on the entire regional public safety community as united in the efforts to achieve an interoperable broadband network for the region,” Phillips said in her letter.

But Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith responded with a letter in which he described Phillips’ explanation as “inaccurate, misleading and non-responsive,” claiming that Phillips — a former Motorola employee, as are many key members of her staff — acted without direction from the approval authority that governs the process.

“It is time for you to stop trying to justify and divert attention —it is time to start over with a transparent process,” Smith stated in the letter.

Phillips is on sick leave until at least Oct. 12.

“[Phillips] is out. She had some previously scheduled appointments that she was taking care of, and it has absolutely nothing to do with any of the issues that are going on,” Tannehill-Plamondon said.

Bay Area UASI officials “absolutely hope” the Project Cornerstone pilot network — to be funded with $6 million in UASI grants awarded to the cities of San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland — will be operational by December, Tannehill-Plamondon said.