Articles

Oklahoma County and City Consider Partnership to Reduce Tech Costs

Two local governments -- the city of Moore and Cleveland County -- could save $1 million if they share the purchase of public safety software.

by Joy Hampton, The Norman Transcript, Okla. / August 18, 2017
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(TNS) -- Taxpayers could be the ultimate beneficiaries if two local entities work together to purchase public safety software, Moore city officials said this week.

 

Representatives from the city of Moore approached Cleveland County decision-makers to start discussions regarding a partnership that could save each entity $500,000.

City Manager Brooks Mitchell said Moore’s public safety software and CAD software won’t be supported with products and service within the next couple of years and will then be obsolete. Purchasing new software would cost an estimated $1 million, Mitchell said, and Moore is exploring how to replace that system and get the best bang for taxpayer dollars.

After learning about the potential to split the cost, Moore started looking for a partnership opportunity with another governmental entity. One possibility is the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office which is “in the same boat with their software,” Mitchell said.

“We have had some conversations with the county and we hope those continue,” Mitchell said. “If it’s a good fit for them and a good fit for us, then it’s something we’d like to pursue.”

Cleveland County Purchasing Agent Melinda Duke said she received a sample request for proposals (RFP) from Moore on Friday and has given the city feedback that proposals would have to come to the county, rather than the city under the law.

“It will have to be bid out of Cleveland County,” Duke said.

Mitchell said he received a call from County Commissioner Rod Cleveland on Monday and was pleased that commissioners are interested in continuing the conversation. Mitchell said the project is in the preliminary, fact-finding stage at this point, and he realizes both entities will need approval from their respective governing bodies, the Moore City Council and the Board of County Commissioners, before the RFP can be issued, but he hopes the county or another entity is interested in the partnership.

“Financially, it makes sense,” Mitchell said.

Moore has 88 sworn officers including 12 dispatchers, while the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office has 72 sworn officers and eight dispatchers.

“I contacted Brooks Mitchell and Mayor Lewis about the RFP for Public Safety Software,” Cleveland said via email. “I am supportive of local governments working together for cost savings and efficiencies. I was just made aware of this, and I had questions about the need and funding with the Cleveland County Sheriff office. I look forward to receiving more information from the Sheriff’s office and working with the City of Moore.”

However, the sheriff’s office has put the partnership on hold.

Sheriff Joe Lester declined comment, but CCSO Support Services Coordinator Jason Morton notified Moore IT Director David Thompson via email on Tuesday of the project’s changing status.

“It pains me that we are in a place where the following needs to be said,” Morton wrote.

“At this time, the deal with the City of Moore and the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office to work towards a joint project to replace the legacy software of Global Software is dead. With the current state of things, the lawsuit and the politics at this time we can’t enter into an arrangement or joint purchase.

“We may be able to regroup at a later date but that doesn’t help either agency with the time frame we have at this time.

“Thank you for trying to work together to make a difference. I hope this does not influence current or future joint efforts with our agencies.”

Lester filed a lawsuit against the Cleveland County Board of County Commissioners in March, then added the County Budget Board to the suit weeks later, alleging that the BOCC and the budget board are not meeting statutory requirements to fully fund the county jail.

The trial is slated for Oct. 4 at the Cleveland County Courthouse. Carter County Judge Thomas Baldwin is officiating to avoid a conflict of interest with Cleveland County judges.

©2017 The Norman Transcript (Norman, Okla.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.