Do you believe Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald acted appropriately in leveling allegations during the April meeting of the FirstNet board?

Yes, it was a heroic gesture.
83% (236 votes)
No, Fitzgerald failed to provide enough evidence to support his allegations.
9% (26 votes)
Fitzgerald’s position statements were accurate, but such issues should be handled internally within FirstNet instead of being aired during a public meeting.
4% (10 votes)
Fitzgerald’s concerns about internal communication and Public Safety Advisory Committee participation were on target, but his conflict-of-interest allegations went too far.
2% (7 votes)
Other (leave a comment)
2% (6 votes)
Total voters: 285

Discuss this poll 23

Anonymous
on May 20, 2013

Well done Sheriff Fitz! Transparency is vital to show the citizens of this country that their tax dollars are being managed and overseen. Incidents like this only feed the fires that corruption is rampant. Sheiff Fitz....thank you for taking a stance on this issue and "calling it as you see it!!"

Anonymous
on May 23, 2013

Exactly....If ObamaNet gets implemented, the biggest fleece of law enforcement will occur right under their very nose. No transparency, backroom meetings and total disregard for those who put their lives on the line. Wouldnt want to be be Sam Ginn when this all gets unearthed or, even worse, when the system is needed and wont be there or will fail just like ATT and Verizon in Boston, Oklahoma, Sandy etc......

Anonymous
on May 16, 2013

If Fitz's concerns had been circulated prior to the meeting, there would have been a fast and furious effort to find a way to prevent him from making his comments, I have no doubt. In addition, the claim that meeting material is not distributed in a timely manner prior to the meeting is very problematic.
Fitz had to make his presentation in the manner he chose and if his concerns had "been handled internally" they would have landed in Siberia before you could blink. Conducting the "investigation" internally is also a dangerous approach. Dept. of Commerce IG investigation might well be done if the "internal investigation" ends up looking like a whitewash.

Anonymous
on May 16, 2013

Though not as familar with the issue as many mentioned here, I am very much aware of Sheriff Fitz and his reputation as an honest and dedicated public servant. It would take much more than I have read here to convince me he acted inappropriately. Too many in our profession are content to set on the fence and let matters pass without taking a stand. I appreciate and applaud his doing so. Sheriff Keith Cain

Anonymous
on May 15, 2013

A big thanks to Sheriff Fitzgerald for having the courage to stand up and fight for us. I applaud his statement and stand with him in his stance. This network is very much needed and we should push to accomplish the task at hand without big corporate politics and regulation!! Thank you, Sheriff!!!

Anonymous
on May 14, 2013

Sheriff Fitz is a couragous public servant and should be commended for brigning this forward. Big business, especially one whose central concern is profitability over service to public safety has no place at the table of such an important issue and decision point.

Anonymous
on May 14, 2013

I don’t have all the information I would need to make an argument for either side, but one thing I can say without a doubt is that Fitzgerald’s concerns SHOULD be addressed by an outside, independent person or group. As a board member he has a right and responsibility to follow his concerns through.

Most all board’s “Code of Ethics” requires or suggests that directors, officers and employees observe a high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities.

The FirstNet board should seek the truth, be transparent and put the suspicions and concerns, illegal, unethical or other inappropriate activity to bed!

DO THE RIGHT THING!!

Anonymous
on May 14, 2013

I think the comments/statements from Sheriff Fritz were appropriate...he's a 'stand up' guy and I wouldn't have expected anything less from him. He also has a 'set' of'em and doesn't mix words, nor remain 'anonymous.'

Those with something to hide detest the light of day.

One old retired federal agent's opinion, now a sheriff, who has seen too many of these situations in his career 'shuffled off to Buffalo' never to see the light of day until it was too late.

If something wasn't correct let them answer/comment .

Sheriff M.J. Brown

Anonymous
on May 14, 2013

He did try to have a discussion with them, and asked the questions, they didn't listen.

Anonymous
on May 10, 2013

Put this in perspective: FirstNet is a venture capital (VC) startup with constraints no VC manager would ever consider accepting. For having been assembled for under a year, the FirstNet board has done an excellent job in organizing, learning about Federal Acquisitions Regulations (aka the feared "FAR's"), finding some very good people, and making a goodfaith effort to move forward.  A VC firm would find a suitable building ready to go in a week or two. Ask GSA how long they typically take to procure office space. Its typically measured in months, if not years.

Yes, the mix of people (not the people themselves but the mix) is not exactly what public safety would have made. The fact is to build a ground-start network virtually from scratch, in a very short time, with a business goal of breaking even (now in 8 1/2 years), for a network that likely will cost $30-40B (not the FCC's $15.6B) to meet basic financial goals in 2022 requires a lot more than just Public Safety board members. Who out there thinks YOU could pull it off as a Federal entity and meet the rediculous FARs?
If you've never had to work under the FARs, these are the purchasing regulations, taller than a man laid in a single stack, that gave the US taxpayers the $1M toilet seat, and $10,000 hammers for DOD. Any other non Federal contractor CEO (which is most of them) can call the FARs a pain in the ass and get away telling the Feds to pound sand. Being a federal agency CEO Ginn can't, plus he gets hardball politics.  And the really secret secret is about 40% of large (over $1B) federal programs get cut / killed.  So, If the FirstNet board isn't to your liking, vote in a new president in 2016, get your friends appointed to run the Dept. of Commerce and have your own slate put on the FirstNet board, then do it your way (compliant with the FARs if that doesn't get relief :) In that interim how about playing the cards WE have?

Public Safety needs this network. Lets give FirstNet a fair chance to address the issues, including those from Sheriff Fitzgerald, and provide the network WE NEED. If you have constructive criticisms with solutions then please professionally share them. But let's make this happen.

Signed,
Public Safety NEEDS THIS NETWORK

Anonymous
on May 16, 2013

I think you have raised some well thought out and accurate points. However; waiting for 2016 and voting in a new president is not an acceptable or appropriate response to these concerns. They are spending taxpayer dollars, they should be doing it transparently, and clearly (if nothing else) they are not acting transparently.

Anonymous
on May 10, 2013

I don't understand how this is being handled. Most organizations would address serious concerns raised by a board member by bring in an outside, independent review. Having a board investigate itself is absurd unless the goal is to really make the allegations go away and they can get back to doing things without any transparency. This isn't about FirstNet, technology, or government. This is about applying ethical behavior to investigate charges that are alleged about prior actions and against board members. Appointing board members to investigate themselves raises more significant procedural and ethical questions than it answers

Anonymous
on May 10, 2013

Blame it on Larry Strickling and the DC-based "Lawyerly Gentlemen's Club of FCC Loyalists, Lackeys and Want-to-bes." We all know who you are. This governance structure, funding stricture, and these appointments were done purposely to exploit fractures within public safety, to constrain public safety, and to obstruct the level of success of a nationwide public safety broadband network. Many of those corporate interests that supported D Block allocation to public safety for selfish purposes, oppose realization of a robust, nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network that moves aggressively toward mission-critical converged capabilities with voice, video and data. Think about it. Sheriff Fitz predictably played his role as a pawn in the game, a role he played just as predictably within the Public Safety Alliance as well.

Anonymous
on May 10, 2013

Heroic

Anonymous
on May 10, 2013

I think there needs to be an option that provides the only route for Ginn to rescue the credibility of this thing. His instinct as a successful CEO told him that the best way to clear the air is by having the Dept of Commerce Inspector General do an independent review. However, obviously, the powers that be imposed a whitewash option that he agreed to. What if....some on the review panel participated in some of the alleged activities? What experience do they really have in federal govt ethics and compliance? Bottom line from my standpoint of public safety is that thing will never get credibility if their process continues as it has and they dont reset and engage in a meaningful way with states. They keep saying to hold on.....there is a 400 page Manhattan project document that details what they are doing, but they refuse to provide the plan and the details on who made the plan....Obviously, not the Board or it would have been released when asked to.

Anonymous
on May 10, 2013

He showed great patriotism in blowing the whistle on a board that is acting as if they are above the law that created them, specifically on the blatant disregard for the direction in the law that procurements be open and competitive, that all meetings of the board and its committees be open to the public, and that the PSAC be established and used for the good of the program. The commercial members of the board seem to be trying to rebuild Verizon Wireless as a government agency, and the excessive reliance on Verizon/Vodaphone/Airtouch personnel, methods and approaches certainly makes it look like the fix is in, and the PSBN assets (spectrum and $) will be turned over to those that have inside influence with the board members. The fact that certain board members retain large interests in commercial carriers, combined with the sham board meetings in which all decisions have clearly been made out of sight of the public, makes the current FirstNet look incredibly corrupt, incapable and unlikely to serve Public Safety's interests at all. The request by Sam Ginn to Congress that they be relieved for the FARs, essentially turning over the country's checkbook to Sam and his cronies with no checks and balances, further justifies Paul Fitzgerald's position that the board is out of control and is not acting in the interest of the citizens of the USA.

Anonymous
on May 10, 2013

Heroic? maybe. The statements reflected what we are seeing from FirstNet and show the frustrations we feel. All of their meetings and internal correspondence should be public and posted by NTIA.

Anonymous
on May 10, 2013

I listened very carefully to everything Sheriff Fitzgerald said and, while some or all of it may be true, I have two issues. First, it was inappropriate to introduce his concerns in the way he did. I do not believe it would have diminished his position or the points he was making had he provided review copies of the resolution to other members of the committee. By doing so, it would have allowed a better opportunity to discuss his issues during the meeting. He did not gain any "tactical" advantage by raising the issue the way he did. My second concern has to do with corroboration of the allegations made by Sheriff Fitzgerald. As a law enforcement officer, he should know that allegations are just that, allegations; until they are backed up with facts and evidence. I do not doubt his statements; I would just like to know a little more about what prompted him to bring this information forward.

Anonymous
on May 17, 2013

What makes you think he didn't try to bring these things forward in a more collegial way? This seemed to me to be a "last resort" move. I think it should be interpreted as his only method of getting this message through without having it white-washed.

Anonymous
on May 10, 2013

This comment forgets the fact that Board members all say they dont get Board documents except at last minute before the meetings, such as the 400 page document that still is buried somewhere.....they set that standard of poor operating practices and Fitzgerald operated in the manner that the Board has operated in the past....in spite of how poor this process has been so far. What other recourse did he have? Apparently, the Board is really run by Dowd, Farrill, Ginn, Johnson, and of course, Strickling who cooked this up before the Board was even announced.

You are correct they are just allegations and the only way for them to be vetted is by the Dept of Commerce Inspector General....they are best equipped to review this and Ginn's experience told him that until he was convinced otherwise, probably because of actions of Board members and NTIA. Ginn should speak for himself before his successful career gets very tainted by those whispering in his ear. In the end, its his Board and he will be the one under oath on the Hill and with investigators.

Anonymous
on May 10, 2013

I believe he told it like it is, Nothing wrong with expressing his opinion.

Anonymous
on May 10, 2013

FirstNet has rapidly destroyed any credability it needed to garner with the first responder community across the nation. Absolutely no outreach, obvious behind-the-scenes decisions, no repsect for the Sheriff. We need to stand behind Sheriff Fitz as one, otherwise, we can't complain when FN forces their vision of coverage, fees, management control, etc down our collective throats.

Anonymous
on May 9, 2013

Yes, way to go Paul!! Speaking up for the little guys against the big corp types

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