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Township Delays Awarding Phone Contract [VIDEO]

With two competing vendors vying for the township contract, committee orders closer review.

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.

marsha smith April 15, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Hidden Facts. In Sept. 2011 Ciccrone illegally signed a $60,000 contract with Broadview for Copper Phone Lines without approval of the Mayor and Committee. Ciccorone admitted to an illegal $65,000 contract with Hunter Systems. That’s a total of $125,000 of illegal contracts. The Broadview Copper Phone Lines were installed in Nov. 2011 and Chatham is paying over $1400/month even though they are corroded and not being used. The current phone provider DNS stated the town hall has 25 pair of copper lines exposed and buried in the ground water and corroded. they fail when it rains. DNS states its phone system can run over the fiber optic Verizon lines now available. The hunter system CAN'T. These lines are only $99 per month and immune to rain and other weather. Ciccorone is also using false math to justify the hunter-broadview purchase. The corroded copper is over $1400 per month plus $65,000 for a new phone system. DNS proposed $2090/month total. Chatham already bought a new phone system 2 years ago. Subtracting $1400 from $2090 is $690 divide that into $65,000 equals 94 months for pay back. Ciccorone falsely claims a 36 month pay back. Ciccorone is refusing to install the $99 fiber optic line and uses the backup Comcast residential cable that drops calls all the time. The only reason Ciccorone is refusing to add the fiber line and spending $65,000 is because his technician friend was terminated from DNS in June 2011 and was hired by Hunter in July 2011.
Richard E. Templin April 15, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Marsha, Thanks for having the strength to call this issue. I am running for the Township Committe this fall and I am focusing on these types of issues in our town. Please reach out to me at either my home at 480 Green Village Rd. or by email at rtemplin2001@yahoo.com. I would like to here more about this issue. Thanks, Rich Templin

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