The City of Baltimore is “wasting about $400,000 every month it does not install a new phone system,” claimed Thursday a lawyer for City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt, as reported by the Baltimore Sun.
Since the summer, the mayor’s office has been paying Digicon Corp., with offices in Rockville, to upgrade the city’s phone system to a VoIP option. Pratt’s main contention is that the mayor’s office should be purchasing that new phone system through IBM, which went through a request-for-proposal process and was the lowest bidder, and not through Digicon Corp., which did not participate in the bidding process.
As it stands now, the mayor’s office has paid Digicon Corp. more than $800,000 on the VoIP upgrade, a transaction that was found to have “possible conflicts of interest and missed opportunities for ‘significant cost savings,’ ” according to an investigation by city Inspector General David N. McClintock.
In court Thursday, Pratt requested a temporary restraining order that would prevent the mayor’s office from purchasing the VoIP upgrade through Digicon Corp.
The Sun reports that Circuit Judge Jeffrey M. Geller denied Pratt’s request for a temporary restraining order, meaning the city can pay Digicon Corp. the remaining $137,000 of “about $955,000 for certain equipment purchases and staffing.”
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