On Wednesday, Florida TaxWatch released “Calling All Cars? Florida’s Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS-2) Underscores the Need for Procurement Reform,” an analysis of efforts made to replace the aging Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS) equipment and ensure law enforcement, firefighters, and other first responders can communicate quickly and effectively.
In June 2016, the Department of Management Services’ (DMS) initiated an Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) for the new, non-proprietary, mission critical P25 SLERS-2 network – the current contract expires at the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2021) – but after a seven-month bid protest and 14 months of negotiations that followed, the agency is no closer to contracting with a successor than it was five years ago.
Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro weighed in on the analysis on Wednesday.
“There may be no more important statewide system than the one connecting our first responders, and this stagnant and time-consuming process has come at considerable taxpayer expense. It clearly emphasizes the need for a complete overhaul of Florida’s procurement system. Florida TaxWatch urges the Legislature to seriously consider the Florida TaxWatch recommendations to amend existing laws and implement additional measures to reduce the number of bid protests, preferably establishing a ‘debriefing process’ that allows all involved parties to identify and resolve errors or issues as early as possible. We are hopeful such long-overdue and needed change will be codified before the end of session, in time to guide the SLERS-2 procurement process and enable the successful fulfilment the most important function of state government – protecting the public,” Calabro said.
In September 2020, Florida TaxWatch called for an overhaul of the state’s procurement system, with a focus on transparency and open competition, as well as commitment to the best outcomes for taxpayers.