HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Auditor General announces he will soon begin an audit of the recently awarded deal to replace what he calls the unreliable and ineffective statewide radio system.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale stressed the time is right to do this audit. He says he wants to make sure this system has the proper checks and balances in place for the network to succeed after what he says was two decades of failure.
In 1996, a contract with Harris Corp. the old radio system was supposed to cost the state $179 million but overtime ended up costing more than four times that amount at $800 million. Still, the network was unreliable leaving Pennsylvania State Troopers unable to communicate with each other. The problem was brought to light during a 48-day manhunt for Eric Frein in 2014.
"And just to let you know what ticks me off is in the 20 years of this contract the bureaucrats in Harrisburg never could make sure the system was working properly," said DePasquale.
In 2016, the state entered into a new contract with Motorola Solutions to replace the radio system. This time costing the state $44.5 million in additional costs. Auditor General DePasquale is now launching an audit to look into the last two years of the previous contract, the request for proposal process and the first two years of the new system.
"I want to make sure the safety of police officers come before bureaucratic paper pushers," said DePasquale. "Our first responders and taxpayers, and the people our first responders are to protect can not afford another debacle like the last contract. "
DePasquale announced his audit Thursday morning, Senators Randy Vulakovich and Bob Mensch introduced legislation to audit and review issues related to the statewide radio system.
"We need to have absolute insurance that the dollars that we're spending on behalf of the state agencies and the taxpayers," said Sen. Mensch. "That all of them see a positive return for that investment and it doesn't get out of control again."
This is the first time an audit will be done in regards to the statewide radio network. The beginning stages of the audit are expected to begin next week.