Sacramento's new 911 system was due last year. Firm wants another 22 years to deliver, fire officials say
Jun 26, 2018
The lawsuit names New World Systems Corp., a Michigan firm that agreed to the two-year contract with the departments, and Tyler Technologies, a Plano, Texas, firm that subsequently acquired New World. Tyler Technologies said in a statement to The Bee Monday that it could not address specifics of the lawsuit's claims, but defended its work. "At Tyler Technologies we are strongly committed to the success of our client engagements; we maintain a 98% retention rate among our 15,000+ clients across the public sector," the company said in an email statement. "Our policy is to work closely with our clients to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, and to our clients’ complete satisfaction. "For legal reasons, we cannot share specific details about our engagement at the Sacramento Regional Public Safety Communications Center. However, we are confident that the claims asserted against us are without merit, and we look forward to a swift resolution of this matter." Joe Thuesen, interim chief executive director of of the communications center, said the fire agencies sought a new Windows-based system to replace a COBOL programming system that has been in place since 1995. "We sought a very specific set of capabilities as part of a planned update to our emergency computer aided dispatch (CAD) software, which New World Systems – now Tyler Technologies – claimed they could deliver during the contract period," Thuesen said in an email. "Unfortunately, those claims were untrue, and it is now clear that the company is many years away from having the capabilities promised. "Since their current software does not provide the capabilities we contracted for and the company has refused to refund monies paid to date, our lawsuit seeks a refund and damages on behalf of our fire agency members and our local taxpayers. In the meantime, our existing dispatch software can reliably meet our emergency dispatch needs while we restart the process to modernize this computer aided dispatch system." The lawsuit claims the defendants "failed to fulfill even basic requirements," such as filing monthly status reports on time, and that they submitted documents during the bidding process that contained "misleading and false information" to beat out the other two bidders. The suit, which seeks triple the amount the departments have spent so far on the system, also claims the defendants "have a custom and practice of failing to perform on their contracts with other government agencies and entities." The communications center is a joint powers authority that was formed by the Sacramento Metro Fire Department, the city fire departments in Sacramento and Folsom and the Cosumnes Community Services District. The center also provides services through contracts to volunteer firefighters in Courtland, Herald, Isleton, the River Delta area, Walnut Grove and Wilton. "These services include but are not limited to information technology for routing and dispatching 911 emergency fire and medical aid calls for the greater Sacramento region, which covers approximately 1,000 square miles, servicing 1.5 million people, and is one of the nation's largest communication centers," the lawsuit says. Last year alone, the center answered more than 350,000 calls and dispatched emergency units more than 204,000 times, according to the suit.