City Council Grills Excalibur Owner; Holds Off On New $240,000 Contract

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Roger Jenkins
Roger Jenkins

City Council members on Tuesday grilled the owner of Excalibur Integrated Systems, who was the recipient of millions of dollars in city contracts during the Littlefield administration.

The council is holding up on approving a new $240,000 Excalibur contract for extending wireless coverage for a section of Hixson Pike near Hixson High School for the city's Intelligent Transportation System (ITS).

Roger Jenkins said he could not remember the amount of his initial contract with the city five years ago for developing a "mesh" system for powering city wireless devices.

Council Chairman Yusuf Hakeem said he found that "weird."

Mr. Jenkins said he will research how much his firm of 20-22 employees has been paid by the city to date. He said the total expense of the mesh system thus far is from $8 million to $10 million, but he said some of that has gone to other firms.

He was quizzed about a $20,000 per month city contract for maintenance of the system. He earlier said it was a "self-healing" system and that when one part goes down other parts extend to continue the coverage. He said there is still maintenance work to be done to make sure too many parts of it do not fail. Also, he said the firm helps the city with component updates.

Steve Meyer, former county engineer and Volkert official who is now Excalibur executive vice president, said the firm gets 5-6 calls a day on different issues from the city's Information Systems department.

Mr. Jenkins said when the time came for setting up the ITS, using the mesh system saved the city 40 percent over use of fiberoptic and copper lines.

He said much of the funding has come from grants - not city appropriations.

Councilman Chris Anderson asked if any city employee had been involved with his company. He said former chief of staff Dan Johnson had been his longtime accountant prior to going into government.

Council members asked if another firm could do the ongoing maintenance and what would happen if the company went out of business. He said possibly one other Chattanooga firm could do the work. He said Excalibur has been around for 34 years and he has a succession plan. "We have other customers than the city of Chattanooga," he said. 

 


Early Voting Numbers In Tennessee Up Over 19,000 For 4 Days

Early voting numbers in Tennessee are up over 19,000 after four days. Hamilton County up 1,974 -helped with the increase. There were 3,949 after four days in August 2010, and 5,923 currently. Bradley County is down 690 and Rhea down 197. Marion County is up by 74. Kerry Steelman, administrator of elections, said, "It's exciting to see these numbers. This is the kind ... (click for more)

Latest Jail Booking Report From Hamilton County - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, JOSEPH LEBRON 1209 INDIAN AVE APT A ROSSVILLE, 30741 28 Chattanooga VIOLATION OF PROBATION (DOMESTIC ASSAULT) ALLEN, TONEY TYRONE 1011 E 8TH STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37403 25 Chattanooga POSS.A FIREARM DURING COMMISSIION OR ATTEMPT TO CO DRUGS GENERAL CATEGORY FOR RESALE TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICE VIOLATION ... (click for more)

Pickle Ball? - And Response

Collegedale has done some wonderful things for its residents.  The Greenway is a perfect example of money well spent on helping to give her residents the opportunity to improve their lives, at least from a health standpoint. Having taught at Wolftever Creek for a decade plus, I was fortunate to have opportunity to take my classes on walks from time to time.  It provided ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Say It Ain't So, Larry Joe!

Larry Joe Wheelon, the tainted horse trainer who was charged with 18 counts of aggravated animal cruelty when his barn was raided in April of 2013 and some animals were sored so badly that they could barely walk, finally went to a court hearing in Blount County on Wednesday and his steps toward Judge Tammy Harrington’s bench were decidedly heavy. My goodness, yours would have been ... (click for more)

Stone Leaves South Pitt For Coaching Positions At Boyd-Buchanan

The possibility of a career move was definitely in Wes Stone’s future. The one he took wasn’t necessarily on his radar screen just a few weeks ago. Stone, assistant football and head baseball coach at South Pittsburg, has left the Pirates for teaching/coaching positions at Boyd-Buchanan. The 38-year-old Stone, who already is working with the Bucs’ football team as a defensive ... (click for more)

Soddy-Daisy's Wright Commits To MTSU Baseball

Soddy-Daisy’s Andy Wright, a rising senior and dual-threat player, has made a non-binding verbal commitment to play baseball at Middle Tennessee State University. Wright, a pitcher/third baseman, chose the Conference USA Blue Raiders over Belmont, Air Force, Navy, UT-Martin and Carson-Newman. “I’m glad to get this (decision) off my back so I can enjoy my senior year,” Wright ... (click for more)