FirstNet special committee plans to issue first report in September
After some initial delays, the special committee investigating openness and transparency within the FirstNet board is expected to issue its report early next month, with an additional report on contracting and conflict-of-interest matters to be issued later, according to Wellington Webb, chairman of the special committee.
During a presentation made during the FirstNet board meeting on Tuesday, Webb said that the special committee—created in the wake of FirstNet board member Paul Fitzgerald’s allegations in April—encountered initial delays because of the vacation schedules for its legal counsel and Fitzgerald’s illness, which prevented him from being interviewed. Fitzgerald was interviewed last month by lawyers representing the special committee.
“Since our last board meeting, we have been collecting correspondence and written materials from members of the board and other key people,” Webb said during the meeting, which was webcast. “We’re now engaged in conducting full review—we’re pouring through enormous amounts of e-mail and written material,
scheduling and conducting interviews.
“The work plan calls for having a final report on openness and transparency by Sept. 5. That report will be issued during a meeting that will be open to the public. When we present that report, we’ll also be ready to provide a date [to issue] the report on conflicts of interest and contracts.”
During the April meeting of the FirstNet board, Fitzgerald made a motion that included allegations that some board members had conflicts of interest, that the 400-page startup plan for the network was “flawed, that FirstNet was treating its public-safety advisory committee (PSAC) as a “necessary evil,” and that FirstNet lacked transparency in its actions, which is “killing our credibility.”
After Fitzgerald made his statement, FirstNet Chairman Sam Ginn called for the formation of a special review committee to investigate the allegations.
During the June meeting of the FirstNet board, Webb announced that the special review committee would be getting legal counsel from attorneys with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). In addition, Webb announced the formation of two sub-committees—one to review openness and transparency concerns, and the other to review the contracting and conflict-of-interest allegations.
FirstNet board member Ed Reynolds is chairman for the subcommittee focused on openness and transparency—which also includes Webb, Tony West from the U.S. Department of Justice, and Dana Hyde from the Office of Management and Budget. Webb is chairman of the other subcommittee, which includes Suzanne Spaulding from the Department of Homeland Security and FirstNet board members Charles Dowd and Jeff Johnson.