After lengthy discussion and debate from two competing vendors, the Chatham Township Committee declined to vote Thursday on a resolution awarding a contract for the purchase and installation of a new telephone system.
Township Administrator Thomas E. Ciccarone said he favored the committee's awarding the contract to Hunter Technologies for a new telephone system.
In November 2011, for more than $63,000 without approval of the committee and at a time when Hunter was not approved as a state contract vendor. During the meeting Thursday he described the errors as "technical mistakes."
Ciccarone said he now has documentation Hunter is an approved state vendor and recommended the committee approve the contract.
The current vendor for Chatham Township, Data Network Solutions (DNS), provides voice-over internet (VOI) and telephone service. DNS President Isaac Fajerman defended his product to the committee and said Ciccarone never called him to say service was unsatisfactory.
Ciccarone and Township Mayor Nicole Hagner commented on problems and shortcomings of the current service, including dropped calls and an inability to transfer between different municipal buildings such as the , the and the .
Fajerman said he recommended switching the township to FiOS, but never received a work order from Ciccarone authorizing the switch.
Hunter President Ivo Allen said his system could provide maximum redundancy for telephone service, especially in the field of emergency communications (in the event of a natural disaster similar to or the .) Also, he said Hunter's system is expandable to thousands of handsets and dozens of locations.
Fajerman said his system already services the police and DPW buildings, and do so without issue. "Everything that [Allen] said his system does, our system does too, and more," he said.
Hagner and the rest of the committee asked questions of both vendors, and Committee Member Robert Gallop said he was still unclear of the benefits and shortcomings of each system. "In the past when we've made a purchase like this,...we've compared apples to apples," Gallop said. He suggested perhaps looking for a third party consultant to advice the township on their needs and on each system, instead of listening only to the two interested parties.