Motorola Solutions sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday asking him to veto a budget item that grants Harris Corp. a contract to upgrade and maintain the state’s police radio network.
The 2021-22 budget passed by lawmakers includes $165 million in in nonrecurring funding to upgrade the Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System and awards the company a 15-year contract at $31.5 million a year — $19 million to oversee the system and $12.5 million to lease radio towers controlled by the company.
The new agreement comes after a years-long war that at one point saw Motorola win the SLERS contract only for Harris Corp. to challenge it in court and eventually come out on top through the legislative budgeting process.
With the letter, Motorola Solutions is taking its last stab at preventing the deal before the Governor signs the budget and codifies the Harris Corp. contract into law.
“This unprecedented legislative action infringes on your executive powers by circumventing the active Invitation to Negotiate from the Department of Management Services that would have allowed your agency to decide which vendor would provide the best value to Florida,” Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown wrote in the letter.
“Signing the budget with line items and provisos that were quietly negotiated between the incumbent vendor and the legislature will result in a bad deal for taxpayers and a dangerous situation for Florida’s first responders.”
As written in the budget, Harris Corp.’s solution would cost $640 million in payments over the next 15 years. Brown states that Motorola Solutions would provide a new, state-of-the-art P25 system and radios for substantially less. To illustrate this point, he noted Motorola Solutions was approximately $300 million lower cost than Harris when it won the last competitive bid.
Brown urged DeSantis to strike the lease payments, which total $187.5 million, from the budget and stick to the recommendations in the Governor’s budget proposal calling for $13 million to replace broken police radios and put the remainder of the $55 million set aside for new radios up for a competitive bid.
“The Legislature’s actions to infringe on your executive power and to circumvent an active procurement for the sole benefit of a single vendor set a dangerous precedent. Entering into a contract of this size and magnitude through legislative fiat has never occurred during an open procurement and should not be approved, especially given the operational delays, substandard coverage and technical issues that have plagued the incumbent operator,” Brown wrote.
“The State of Florida has always supported a very deliberate process for major contract decisions that includes development of a business case to support good decision making. Toward that end, the state hired an outside, objective expert last year and has since paid it more than $1 million to analyze the situation, consider alternatives, formulate recommendations and support the current ITN. All of that effort and expenditure of taxpayer dollars has been undermined at the last minute via legislative action.”
The letter is below.