Commissioners have met with the finalists and are checking references.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A consultant to lead the overhaul of Mahoning County's 911 radio system should be on board by the end of summer.
County commissioners met earlier this week with representatives of three companies who were selected as finalists for the consultant's job.
Each company made a 90-minute presentation, said purchasing director James Fortunato.
The finalists are RCC Consultants of Edwardsville, Ill., SSI Services of Harrisburg, Pa., and Robert Kimball & amp; Associates of Pittsburgh.
They were chosen from a field of 11 applicants. The only local company to bid on the project was Olsavsky/Jaminet Architects of Youngstown.
Fortunato said commissioners and a committee of 911 system users are checking backgrounds and references of the finalists and will meet again to discuss their findings July 24.
The panel should make a final recommendation to commissioners within 30 days of that meeting, said county Administrator Gary Kubic.
Moving: Commissioners voted earlier this year to move the 911 dispatching center from the administration building on Boardman Street to a room in 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 relocation in response to complaints from police and fire departments who use the system.
The chiefs 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 "dead spots" in the county, where radio signals don't reach their areas.
Rather than move the existing system and then replace it, commissioners decided to put a new system in the new quarters.
Duties: The consultant will recommend equipment and technology best suited for the county's needs, as well as sites for new radio broadcast towers to ensure better coverage for the entire county.
A new radio console was to be included in those recommendations, but commissioners voted earlier this week to buy one now from Cattron Communications of Boardman for $33,026.
Maggi McGee, 911 executive director, said it's to replace an aging console that "just burned out" from age and use.
Because of its condition, the replacement could not be delayed so was done as an emergency, McGee said.
She said the model is generic enough that the console can be programmed to fit any recommendations the consultant hands in.