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. 

 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AARON, STEVE LYNN  2518 CRESCENT CLUB DR HIXSON, 37343  Age at Arrest: 50 years old Arresting Agency: East Ridge DOMESTIC ASSAULT DOMESTIC ASSAULT --- AKINS, JAVORIS  7604 STANDIFER GAP RD CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 20 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING ... (click for more)

Fort Oglethorpe Arrest Report For May 20-26

Here is the Fort Oglethorpe arrest report for May 20-26: Cavin Lebron Davenport, 19, of 4000 Sunset Avenue, Chattanooga was arrested May 21 on charges of center lane violation, possession of marijuana and driving while license revoked. Shawn Daniel Whitaker, 31, of 73 Twin Lakes Road, Lafayette was arrested May 21 on charges of driving while license suspended and failure ... (click for more)

Fruit Basket Turnover

I have been teaching for 21 years now, so I’ve been through my share of school leaders. Every one of them taught me something important. Whether it was Don Bishop from Red Bank High School who, after almost 30 years at Red Bank, taught me to invest in the longevity of my career, Wade Kelly who taught me to thoroughly weigh options before making a decision, Gail Chuy who taught me ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Let Me Be Clear’

I have seen a lot of human beings who have gotten themselves in terrible messes in my time and more self-induced agony than I want to recall. Will Rogers famously said, “Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself.” That’s the truth and if you ever didn’t think that “Politics corrupts,” consider the genius behind the line, “It ain’t long those who get elected … begin to think ... (click for more)

Chicago Fire Wins Steinbrecher Cup 2-1 In Overtime

It took 120 minutes to decide who is the best US amatuer soccer team Saturday night at Finley Stadium as the Chattanooga Football Club took on the Chicago Fire of the PDL.   The Fire would score first but Chattanooga tied the match early in the second half.  Luke Winter scored the equalizer in the 47th minute off a Jon Finlay cross.   The game would remain tied ... (click for more)

Harrison Sparks Lookouts To 3-2 Win Over Smokies

For the second straight night Travis Harrison delivered in the clutch for the Chattanooga Lookouts. Tonight the third baseman drove in all three runs in the team's 3-2 win over the Tennessee Smokies before a crowd of 4,765 at AT&T Field. Harrison kicked off his night in the third inning with an RBI single to bring home Zack Granite who reached on a walk. Chattanooga ... (click for more)