November 16, 2006

Baltimore’s Board of Estimates Awards Contract to Digicon Over Competitor’s Protest

By Joe Bacchus

The Board of Estimates' voted without dissent yesterday to award a $7.6 million information technology contract to a Rockville company over the objections of its top competitor.

TeleCommunication Systems Inc. asked the board not to follow the city purchaser's recommendation to award an information technology contract to Digicon Corp.

Robert C. Douglas, an attorney with DLA Piper US LLP representing TeleCommunication, offered a letter and a list of 11 claims that the company was not treated properly in the contract evaluation process.

"There is strong evidence that the flawed scoring system has not produced the correct or the best result for the citizens of Baltimore," the letter read.

However, Raquel Guillory, spokesman for Mayor Martin O'Malley, said the purchasing department had previously responded to TeleCommunication's list of complaints.

"The purchasing department feels that this was done properly," Guillory said.

As mayor, O'Malley controls the five-member board, since two of its members, the city solicitor and the director of public works, are his appointees. The other members are the City Council president and the comptroller.

Digicon was awarded the contract without dissent, with council President Sheila Dixon abstaining. Digicon could not be reached for comment.

Under the contract, Digicon will provide the city with help desk support, network design and maintenance, technical specialists and assistance with other applications, Guillory said.

Seven companies responded to the city's request for proposal. In a composite evaluation score, TeleCommunication finished second to Digicon, 50.75 to 52.25.

TeleCommunication, which is currently working on a number of projects with the city, helped develop the CitiStat analysis system that Baltimore uses to track a number of its operations, according to a company document packaged with the letter to the board. The company is based in Annapolis.

City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt, a member of the board, said she believed the evaluation process worked exactly as it is supposed to work. She said TeleCommunication now has the option of going to the city's Office of the Inspector General with its claims of unfair treatment.

Douglas said he had been asked by the company not to comment beyond what was already said in the letter. He said TeleCommunication might release an additional statement soon, but the company did not return calls for comment.

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