According to Steadham, the network of phones at the new sheriff’s building has been sporadically problematic since lightning struck the facility in spring, 2011. Steadham added that while he can’t prove the lightning strike was the cause of the malfunctions, the system had been operating normally up until the incident.
According to his presentation, the most recent malfunction had to do with phone-to-recorder issues in early February, with the entire voicemail system going down prior to that in October of 2013. Steadham told the commissioners court that the main issue for the sheriff’s office now is avoiding a phone system collapse that renders 911 unavailable, though there is a contingency that would send 911 calls to Jack County should that happen.
The county commissioners court ultimately voted to seek competitive pricing for a phone system renovation package as quickly as possible after Commissioner Matt Pruitt initially moved that the court seek competitive bids (the difference being that with competitive pricing, there is no need for an ad in the paper of record, among other stipulations).
The current rate for the phone system overhaul given to Steadham comes from A L Telephone at a price of $21,500, a total estimated for a maximum of 40 phones.
A L Telephone has done business with Young County for over 15 years, and the commissioners court is not eager to dissolve its relationship with the company. Several county officials at the Monday meeting said that A L’s close proximity is a key factor in timely repairs.
Read the entire story in Wednesday's Graham Leader.