Coba Alert

Legislative Hearing Today Re: Jail Radio Systems

December 7, 2020

COBA Announces Class Action Grievance vs County and Sheriffs Dept at Legislative Hearing Today Regarding Correctional Center Radio System

****See video link below****

Earlier today a Legislative Hearing was held in Mineola wherein a proposed contract was scheduled to be voted on regarding the construction and expansion of the Countywide land/mobile radio system.

This system as described will provide "mission critical communications for the Police Dept, Sheriffs Dept, DPW, OEM and other Countywide Services."

The contract price for the services under this agreement are stated to not exceed approximately $94 million dollars with an additional $28 million for Maintenance and Lifecycle Services.

COBA obviously fully supports this contract as the Sheriffs Dept, our Members and numerous other County Agencies will benefit greatly from this project moving forward.

There is only one problem and we all know exactly what it is. The initial rollout of the Motorola Radio System at our facility has been abysmal.

The Correctional Center Radio System has been plagued with repeated transmission outages since its installation in early July. COBA has repeatedly complained to the County and Motorola that this system is not working properly, only to be told that while there are technical problems with the system, there are also "user error" issues and that our people need to learn the new system. While there is certainly a "getting used to" period with all new things, none of this explains the repeated broadcast transmission issues we have seen here and we would not stand still while these issues continued hoping they would resolve themselves.

As such, COBA took the opportunity at today's Legislative Hearing on the expansion of the radio project to announce that we have filed a Class Action Grievance against the County and the Sheriffs Dept over their failure to adequately address the continued problems with our Radio System.

We also demanded that a Committee be formed immediately with all of the stakeholders including the Police Dept, the Sheriffs Dept, COBA, Motorola and members of the Legislature to assure that as part of the approval of the new system, that all of the bugs are worked out of OUR system with everyone in the room so there can be no deniability by any party involved.

All of this was agreed upon today.

Please see below a video of today's testimony that included myself and a familiar name to all of us, Nassau PD Chief Ron Walsh who heads up the radio project for the entire county. Unfortunately, just as today's testimony was about to begin, Chief Walsh learned of the death of his hospitalized father Ron Walsh Sr from COVID-19. Ron Sr was a longtime County employee having worked for the Public Safety Office until as recently as Nov 10th before he contracted COVID.

It was contemplated to delay today's testimony out of respect for Chief Walsh, but the radio project was going to be voted on today either way, and from our perspective we had to make clear that the health, safety and interest of our Correction Officers was also paramount and squarely attached to the vote on this project.

The Legislature approved the item with our demand for immediate action with the formation of a multi agency committee to address the Correctional Center's radio problems and find solutions, along with the fact that our Class Action Grievance Grievance is now tied to the project and the record going forward.

See the video of today's testimony below:

In Unity;

Brian Sullivan, COBA President

To View the Video click the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGrmj1alaRE

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