MAHONING 911 Panel urges hiring of Illinois company

RCC Consultants of Illinois beat out companies from Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.
YOUNGSTOWN -- An Illinois company has come out on top in the search for a consultant to lead the overhaul of Mahoning County's 911 system.
A committee of county officials and system users has recommended that commissioners hire RCC Consultants of Edwardsville, Ill.
The company was chosen from a field of three finalists who were closely evaluated by the committee, said Gary Kubic, county administrator. The other finalists were both from Pennsylvania -- one in Harrisburg and one in Pittsburgh.
The only local company to express an interest with the original field of 11 candidates was Olsavsky/Jaminet Architects of Youngstown.
Each of the three finalists came to Youngstown in June and made a 90-minute presentation to the committee.
Kubic said the committee has suggested that RCC come back and make a final presentation to commissioners before the board decides whether to hire the company.
Once commissioners decide which company to hire, they will outline the full scope of the project and develop a cost estimate, Kubic said.
Selection process: Clark Jones of the county Emergency Management Agency said the committee checked references provided by each finalist and graded each company according to a numerical scale developed by the county's purchasing office. The final scores were tallied and RCC won, though all three companies were deemed qualified to do the work, Jones said.
Still, committee members liked what they heard from communities who'd worked with RCC.
"This organization is very skilled at dealing with the complex issues of fragmented communication systems," Jones said. "They are good at being able to get in and move the process along quickly and smoothly."
Moving 911 center: Commissioners voted earlier this year to move the county's 911 dispatching center from the administration building on Front Street to a specially built room at the county jail on Fifth Avenue.
The room was originally designed for 911 when the jail was built, but the system was never located there.
Commissioners decided to upgrade the radio system in conjunction with the move in response to complaints from police and fire departments that use the system.
The departments said the system is inadequate and needs to be expanded so fire and ambulance crews can have their own radio frequencies instead of having to compete with police for air time.
They also said there are too many places in the county where radio signals are too weak for officers in the field to communicate with the dispatching center, so commissioners plan to install more transmission towers.
Part of the consultant's job will be to determine how many towers are needed and where they should be located. It will also recommend new equipment to replace the aging console system. The new equipment will be installed in the new quarters.

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