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Easton Selectmen Make the Call on Police Phones

A new phone system at the Easton Police Department is just what the doctor ordered. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Thursday to award a $20,000 contract to Provado Technologies LLC of Waterbury. The company will install the ShoreTel voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phone system.

The selectmen's decision, however, goes against the Police Commission 's recommendation to hire AT&T to install the phones. AT&T's bid was $2,600 less than Provado's bid.

"I think the pricing is irrelevant," First Selectman Tom Herrmann said. "My only caveat on the pricing is I made some assumptions on AT&T, for the items that they didn't bid, and I'm a little concerned about that."

AT&T's proposal did not include a service package comparable to the other bids. But Chief John Solomon said AT&T was his preferred choice because of the established relationship between the police and the company.

"We've had a great experience with AT&T," Solomon said. "It services our E911 system, it services our lines ... our radio communications system. ... We have any problem, we can call AT&T."

Herrmann then asked the sales representatives – who included Jim White from Provado – whether their companies could detect the difference between a line problem and a broken phone.

"We have software that sends us a signal if anything goes wrong," said Tim Bukowski of Hilltop Technologies, a company that bid $500 less than Provado.

The underdog was DataTel, a company that bid twice, including an estimate of $12,528 for a digital phone system. Officer Mark Pastore said he was unable to find adequate information on the company's system – a VoIP brand called Vertical – and did not have a chance to test the product.

DataTel's Tim Higgs could not convince the selectmen that his product was equal to ShoreTel and said the cost savings should be the real concern. Board members said reliability of service was their priority, not price.

The selectmen dismissed AT&T's incomplete bid and Hilltop lost because of its relative inexperience compared with Provado – a locally based company with a long-established reputation as a ShoreTel provider.

Tell us your thoughts: What do you think of the selectmen's decision to go with Bravado over AT&T?

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