TX - Randall ponders new phone system

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Web posted Wednesday, October 25, 2000 4:29 a.m. CT

By KEVIN WELCH Globe-News Staff Writer

Randall County commissioners met Tuesday and their discussions included the selection of a company to replace the county's phone system and the hiring of an outside attorney to litigate a solution to the leaking Next Step Home.

A variety of department heads attended the meeting to complain about the current system.

"Last week it was out off and on," said District Clerk Jo Carter. "We have had constant problems with it. It is something we desperately need."

Criminal District Attorney James Farren had his say, too.

"We had large parts of Thursday and Friday without service in or out," he said. "We are forced to make a major change just to communicate with the outside world."

That major change will not come cheaply.

After preliminary consideration of proposals by communication companies, Commissioner Skip Huskey pegged the maximum cost at $256,000. The low bidder on the project was Executone, but negotiations could lower the cost.

Commissioners could make a decision at next week's meeting.

"We have two visits to sites where the systems are installed scheduled this week to make sure they do what they are supposed to," said Joella McPherson, county auditor and member of a committee studying solutions to the problem.

The process has been a long one, beginning in the spring.

"We didn't want to, in a panic, run out and buy twice what we needed," said County Judge Ted Wood.

Monday's rains brought renewed leaks at the juvenile halfway house, just one day before commissioners decided to hire an outside attorney to pursue legal remedies for


"We had significant leaks and they were in some of the same places they were before," said Youth Center of the High Plains Detention Superintendent Neil Eddins.

A portion of the roof was replaced recently, but much of the original metal roof remains.

"It is supposed to be a 20 or 25-year roof. For $70,000 you expect a roof that won't leak," Eddins said.

The criminal district attorney's office has been advising the commissioners, but following a closed session, commissioners voted to hire an attorney.

"We've reached the point where we have exhausted our resources," said Assistant District Attorney Richard Gore


-- Doris (reaper@pacifier.com), October 25, 2000

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