Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald’s statement at the April 23, 2013, meeting of the FirstNet board
I will now lay out my concerns, which are reflected in the content of this motion.
My first concern relates the company’s startup planning document that I received last Friday. For the reasons I have expressed in my motion, the plan presented to the board for the development of the public-safety broadband network is flawed.
I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad plan, but I do say that the process by which it was developed undermined its ability to be supported by public safety.
This 400-plus-page startup plan—which, by the way, I first saw this weekend—requires (1) an independent review by an outside body, (2) testing against alternatives, (3) and, most importantly, obtaining serious public-safety input before any plan is presented for consideration by the board.”
My second concern relates to the role of the PSAC. In my view, more effort [is expended] making sure that no advice is received from the PSAC that would have to be publicly disclosed by this board than is spent trying to hear the PSAC out or involve them in our activities in any way.
In my view, the PSAC is treated more like a necessary evil than a valuable source of public-safety advice. This troubles me to my core. How can we be designing a public-safety broadband network without public safety [being] front and center? Why is everyone sitting quietly while commercial members of this board tell public safety to sit in the corner and watch them work? Whose network is this anyway?
This board can’t turn our blinders onto the PSAC just because it’s more convenient for us not to have to disclose the advice they have to give us. If we’re not listening to our public-safety advisory committee as we plan our network, and we’re not listening to all of the public-safety members of this board, who are we listening to? If we are open to hearing the advice of public safety, then we should show it in our daily commitments with the PSAC. If we are not, then we should all go home.”
My third concern relates to the matter of process and the need for transparency. In my view, the likelihood of the adoption and use of the public-safety broadband network depends, in large part, upon the confidence of public safety in the processes followed by FirstNet in relation to—among other matters—the development and implementation of plans and designs for the public-safety broadband network.
In my view, the process thus far employed by FirstNet [is] killing our credibility.
It appears to me that directors of FirstNet do not have equal access to documentation information. For example, I have not had access to financial information. Other directors must have had that information, since we’re paying for services. I do not know what the consultants working for FirstNet are being paid or how they were hired. Other directors must have that knowledge. I have not had access to the agreements pursuant to which they’re working. Other directors must have that knowledge.
The board of FirstNet has meetings and conference calls with a quorum of directors present that are not treated as board meetings, are not publicly announced or disclosed, and are not subject to the public observation. The proceedings of the public board meetings are generally well-rehearsed performances, while the real decision-making takes place in other forums. I want all my public-safety colleagues to be able to see what we are doing.
I worked hand-in-hand with [the] Public Safety Alliance for quite some time to see this network created, and I will not sit by and watch it built by my industry board-member colleagues in accordance with their commercial vision, rather than the vision of the public-safety users of the public-safety broadband network. This is supposed to be our network.
In conclusion, I represent to you that I will continue to focus upon the issues I have raised today for the duration my membership on this board, and each of you can expect that will not be muffled, sidelined, pressured to back down, or circumvented. No one on this board wants the public-safety broadband network to succeed more than I do.
In making this motion, I am neither pursuing any agenda nor seeking to further any interest, except those of the public-safety community. I appeal to you for support of my motion.