Dear Salem County Friends and Surrounding Community Members,
I hope that everyone is paying close attention to the Salem County Freeholder Board as they review the iXP bid to privatize our 911 Dispatch Center. Not only does this bid include multiple ‘uncalculated’ expenses, and a great example would be exception 3.a, but Salem County would be giving this private corporation free space, free utilities and free equipment. Based on the research that I have done, it seems as though iXP is really a savvy technology company in disguise. Last time I checked, Salem County already had outsourced its IT services.
Now, I understand that if you’re not a Salem County resident, you may not care about the hidden expenses of this contract but everyone reading this should care about Public Safety because that is not defined by county lines. iXP, the private company being considered, is also asking for exceptions for minimum experience requirements, staffing numbers and their training program is about half of what at present is deemed essential. Not only is this concerning for the safety of Salem County residents, but it doesn’t appear as though they have consulted professionals in the emergency response community or in the nuclear power community about this plan. Salem County 911 center is a integral part of a complex emergency response plan should a nuclear emergency occur at Salem Hope Creek Nuclear Facility. I am very concerned that a company whose primary focus is clearly not on training, and who has no experience in a community with a nuclear power facility, will be unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with and a potential emergent situation.
I am perplexed as to why our Salem County Freeholders have not yet rejected this bid, in part, because it does not include all of the costs. Instead, they are continuing to investigate this move toward privatization and have invited iXP to the June 1 Freeholder meeting which will be held at the old courthouse in Salem City at the convenient time of 4 pm. The Freeholders have asked that all questions be submitted to them prior to the meeting because members of the public will not have an opportunity to directly ask questions to iXP. The two iXP bid documents are posted at www.savesalem911.weebly.com, if you would like to review the materials yourself.
I urge you to reach out to the Salem County Freeholder Board and express your concerns. When it comes to public safety, a bad decision can be the difference between life and death.
Rebecca Gower Ferguson
(Any views or opinions in this Letter to the Editor do not reflect any views or opinions of The News of Salem County LLC. Rebecca is a Salem County resident and had submitted this article for publishing.)
The below Facebook Post was published via Salem County Government’s Facebook Page on May 27, 2016:
Read the previous Letter to the Editor in regards to this matter by Salem County FOP President Bob Gant by clicking here.