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Municipal government

Contract extended to switch Baltimore city government phone system to VoIP

A consultant received a $100K re-up as the effort to bring new phone technology passes five years.

City phones need an upgrade. (Photo by Flickr user Donovan Graen, used under a Creative Commons license)

A contractor brought on by Baltimore city government to help upgrade city phone systems was extended for another year.
As first reported by the Baltimore Sun, the city’s Board of Estimates this week approved a $99,750 contract extension for consulting firm Battles Group to assist in the implementation. It’s part of a yearslong effort to switch the city phone systems to Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP). Silver Spring–based Battles Group is working with city departments including the Department of Communications Services, which is run by the city Comptroller’s office, and Mayor’s Office of Information Technology on the effort.
The phone system upgrade was initially tackled in 2012, but an inspector general’s investigation and an eventual lawsuit between city departments put the process on hold.
The new funding re-ups an initial agreement for about $200,000 that was signed in 2015 after then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Comptroller Joan Pratt reached an agreement to put out a new RFP. Last year, the board approved an extension in the same amount as the new contract.
“This amendment is necessary due to delays in project implementation as a result of infrastructure not being ready, pricing negotiations, and shared services,” the Board of Estimates proposal states.

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