MENOMINEE — The Menominee County Board Tuesday decided to amend its spending policy to purchase the CAD system from Superion.

The current purchasing policy states that any purchase the county makes over $5,000 must involve a sealed bid so all potential sellers can offer a bid. However, Superion is the only company that offers a CAD Records Management System for purchase, which is also the only system available for 911 services. 

Sheriff Kenny Marks discussed the benefits of purchasing this system at a previous county board meeting stating that it would connect all the police cars and central dispatch so the same information would not need to be input into the system more than once. He said that it would allow for the exchange of more accurate information between the two.

Because Superion is the sole provider of this technology, several of the county commissioners had said they do not feel it makes sense to hold this purchase to the purchasing policy that is already instated.

Commissioner Bill Cech said that “it would be of no benefit at all to take bids on this system.” He said that he believed that it would be different if there were more than one provider, but as it stands now “it’s a fixed sale, we either go with this person or nothing.” 

Much of the discussion on Tuesday was about the legality of making this exemption and what exactly it means. Commissioner Larry Schei wanted to ensure that this was a “one time thing,” and not an indication of how the county will approach every purchase over $5,000 in the future. He said that the Stephenson Township Board said they understood this exemption to mean that the county board planned on eliminating the policy altogether. Schei asked for clarification on the issue. “The way I understand is that this is a one-time thing and the Board has the right to do this, am I correct?” 

County Administrator Jason Carviou explained that “this is just for this one single purchase, because they are the sole provider of this software.” He said that making this exemption does not indicate that the board will make other exemptions to the purchasing policy in the future, or that the official policy has changed.

He also assured the board that making an exemption to the purchasing policy is within the rights of the county when the board feels that the policy does not work for a specific purchase.

Commissioner Gerald Piche said that this would save the county money in the long run. Carviou confirmed this, saying that it would save money on advertising for bids and operating costs to hold the bids and the finance committee meeting that would need to take place.

However, purchasing the CAD system was met with some disagreement at the meeting. Commissioner John Nelson said he is against the purchase itself because “it does not fix the inherent problems the county has with its 911 system. I would like to see the infrastructure fixed before we add anything.”

Nelson also said he does not believe the computer software is right for the county’s needs. He cites the fact that the county has several cellular dead spots, meaning that the connection will be nonexistent in some areas. 

The board ultimately decided to approve waving its purchasing policy for the purpose of purchasing the CAD/RMS system with a role call vote. The final vote was 6-3, with Commissioners Cech, Schei, Piche, Larry Phelps, Steven Gromala and Bernie Lang voting in favor. Commissioners Nelson, Charlie Meintz and Jan Hafeman voted against the decision.