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Gross mismanagement in city speed camera program

The issues described in the article "Troubled transition shuts down city speed cameras" (Jan. 23) reveals gross mismanagement and poor judgment by the city in its awarding of the speed camera contract. Furthermore, Baltimore City officials repeatedly are quoted with more regret for the shortfall in ticket revenue than for their oft-stated purpose that the cameras are for children's safety.

First, the request for proposal required that the awarded vendor must supply all software required to run the equipment. Then, since Xerox's software is proprietary and both the city and the new contractor, Brekford Corp., knew this, why did the city award the contract to a vendor who couldn't fulfill the most important part of the contract: running the cameras with software they were supposed to provide. Worse, Brekford's representative blames Xerox for not leaving the software behind, inferring they were surprised.

Though Brekford shares some fault, it would be enlightening for us to know the reaction from the city when told their high profile contract could not be performed by the vendor they awarded, something they had to know before Jan. 1. A cursory review of Brekford's proposal would have prevented them being awarded the contract, unless Brekford claimed they had the software. Even if Xerox refused to license the software to Brekford, it was Brekford's responsibility to have operational software in place on Jan. 1.

An emergency extension by the city to Xerox would have been the responsible thing to do until it could be determined that Brekford could perform by writing the software or buying a license from Xerox. Hopefully, no money has been paid to Brekford this year.

The tradition in mismanagement of contracts and bad judgment in awarding contracts, with citizens the true victims, continues in city government.

Charles Herr, Baltimore

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