Officials from the city of San Jose and the county of Santa Clara yesterday asked that the federal government “suspend or postpone” a $50 million grant award of broadband stimulus money earmarked for a high-profile San Francisco Bay Area public-safety broadband initiative until questions about the procurement process are resolved.
“The process utilized to select the vendor for this process does not reflect our standard for accepted procurement practices,” San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Santa Clara County Executive Jeffrey Smith stated in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke.
In addition, San Jose has expressed concern that $2 million in Urban Areas Security Initiative () grants to San Jose were reallocated without the city’s permission to pay for a 10-site network known as Project Cornerstone that is scheduled to be operational during the Urban Shield exercise during the week of Oct. 18.
A Project Cornerstone press conference featuring Jamie Barnett, chief of the’s public safety and homeland security bureau, scheduled for tomorrow was postponed until the week of the Urban Shield exercise.
According to a press statement from the Alameda County, Calif., Sheriff’s Office, the press conference was postponed because “it appears that there is insufficient time to get parts of our demonstration network deployed for a valuable showing.”
“While we regret the postponement, conducting this press conference during the 2010 Urban Shield exercise will provide a realistic environment to demonstrate the capabilities of this new technology,” according to the statement.
Project Cornerstone is designed to be the beginning of a larger Bay Area LTE network funded largely with the $50.6 million broadband stimulus grant awarded last month to Motorola, the vendor for the network. However, officials for San Jose have been among those questioning the procurement process, noting that no request for proposal was drafted or approved by members of the UASI Approval Authority, including participating cities.
“Our interest here is to better understand the procurement process and why the city of San Jose was not afforded the opportunity to participate,” San Jose Deputy City Manager Deanna Santana. “We really encourage a thorough review.”
Santana noted the importance of the Bay-area LTE project, which public-safety officials nationwide have hoped would serve as a model for the rest of the country. An appropriate RFP process could take six to nine months, she said.
“For something of this magnitude and to be a model, I think six months is not asking for too much,” Santana said.