FirstNet finance committee delays vote to recommend draft RFP ‘for a few weeks’
FirstNet board members tomorrow will not vote to approve the complete draft request for proposal (RFP), as many had hoped. Instead, FirstNet’s finance committee today opted against voting to recommend the proposed draft RFP until staff members can address a few lingering business-plan questions at another meeting “in a few weeks,” according to Tim Bryan, chairman of FirstNet’s finance committee.
“The bottom line is that we, as a committee, have come to agreement on a lot of what we discussed today, but there are few things that we still want a little bit more information on,” Bryan said during the finance-committee meeting, which was webcast on the FirstNet web site. “So, we have asked [key FirstNet staff members] and the acquisition team if they would help us over the next few weeks and just work on a few issues ….
“The bad news is that you will have to see us again sometime in the very near future, when we reconvene and we’ll talk a little bit about these last few issues. I think this is such a critically important part of FirstNet and the business plan—and the underpinning of the business plan—that I think we’re willing to take the few weeks to really hit those last few points.”
Bryan made his statement after finance-committee members emerged from being convened in closed session for almost two hours to discuss the financial details of the proposed draft RFP.
Like the other three FirstNet board committees, the finance committee today met in closed session longer than meeting organizers had anticipated. Unlike the other three FirstNet board committees, the finance committee did not vote to recommend the proposed draft RFP for full board approval.
Without a recommendation from the finance committee, FirstNet board members will not be able to approve the much-anticipated draft RFP in its entirety during tomorrow’s meeting of the tomorrow’s meeting of the full FirstNet board. The full board will be able to consider other aspects of the proposed draft RFP that were approved earlier in the day by FirstNet’s governance, technology and outreach-and-consultation committees, according to a FirstNet spokesman.
“The majority of terms were agreed to today, and we are just down to a few issues,” according to the spokesman.
No date has been scheduled yet for the FirstNet finance committee to reconvene and address concerns about the remaining outstanding issues, according to the FirstNet spokesman.
Prior to delivering his “bad news,” Bryan said that members of the finance committee engaged in “very robust debate” about the FirstNet business case while in closed session.
“I’m sure that it comes as no surprise for anybody that we have a business case for FirstNet,” Bryan said during the meeting. “Underlying the business case are a considerable number of assumptions, and this RFP is not a process unto itself; it’s a process that helps us really solidify a number of critically important assumptions that underlie FirstNet’s business case. So, you can understand why we’re really taking the time and effort to go through this, as much as humanly possible.
“In the closed session, we talked about everything that relates to the business plan and finances and how FirstNet would roll out. We talked about a lot of the things you’ve heard about before, in terms of the acquisition strategy, the number of proposed partners, the geographic scope, the states, the nation, regions. We talked about a variety of other pricing and structural mechanisms that would be applied to the acquisition.”
For months, FirstNet officials have stated plans to release the draft RFP by the end of this month. Barring unforeseen action by the board, the complete draft RFP likely would not be released until at least the second week of April.