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Commissioners deal with phone issues affecting Sheriff's Department, E-911


The Sullivan County Commissioners conducted a lengthy conference call
concerning telephone issues affecting both the Sullivan County
Sheriff's Department and E-911 Dispatch during its meeting on Monday.

The commissioners said the county had incurred problems for the past
week with Granite Government Solutions over communication issues with
the SCSD and 911. The commissioners and 911 director Holly Bovenschen
met virtually with several participants — many of them vice presidents
—  from Granite during the meeting.

"We are in the process of changing over to a new quote unquote phone
billing system," commissioners' president Bob Davis said afterward.
"Granite is a wholesale buyer and they are a retail seller. So they
buy a lot more time and sell it to us cheaper. Supposed to just be a
billing, paperwork issue."

Davis described the problem as "several snafus and it has affected
both the Sheriff's Department and 911.

"So to the public out there, be patient," he said. "We are working on
it. I hope it doesn't affect public safety in any way so far. But it's
something that is beyond our control at this moment. We have to keep
the ball rolling. But you can still reach the sheriff's department,
just be patient."

Davis advised citizens to continue to call the sheriff's department as
usual at its regular number of (812) 268-4308.

"Call as usual because that 4308 number still comes in, it's just the
way it gets there … it's confusing in the system," he noted. "And it
doesn't work like it's supposed to, but it still gets them in the

Davis stated the problems began last week.

"(Granite) flipped the switch at 10:10 a.m. last Tuesday and it's been
nothing but a headache ever since, as you can tell from my tone in the
phone call," he said.

According to its website, "Granite offers nationwide service with
enhanced support, one bill, and one point of contact. With Granite,
you can simplify communications to a single platform. Granite provides
nationwide, fully-managed, cost-effective business communications
solutions custom tailored to your business."

The phone system before was through Frontier and it still is, Davis explained.

"Frontier still carries the phone lines, (Granite) just manages the
billing," he said. "And they were supposed to take care of all that.
The phone lines weren't supposed to be any different, it was just the
management of the billing that was different."

Also discussed in the conference call was the number of (812) 268-5271
being involved.

Asked where the 5271 number came from, Davis said, "not a clue and
Holly doesn't know either. When they quote unquote eliminated the 4308
number, that's the number they brought in. And the 4308 number
forwards to the 5271 number. We don't know where that came from."

Also participating in the call as a consultant was Derek McKee of
Hicom Inc., Telecom and Security Specialists, which is based out of
Greene County (Lyons) and has been in business since 1990.

"We've done some work for the county in the past," mentioning the
Sullivan County Health Department and Sullivan County Emergency
Management, McKee said.

"We are here tonight to be an assistance to some recent issues that
have come about over at the jail. Take part in the call and help out
where I can. Find out if I can help you guys moving forward to keep
from something like this happening and find out if we can find a
better solution for you.

"Like I told Ray (commissioner McCammon) earlier, I'm here to be
involved as needed. I'll be glad to help out as best as I can."

The commissioners, especially Davis, expressed frustration with
Granite officials during the call, stressing public safety is at
issue, and adding that if this is not corrected quickly, they would
consider taking their business elsewhere.

Granite representatives told the commissioners they would be working
to correct this issue starting first thing Tuesday morning.

After the conference call, the commissioners did pass a motion to not
pay any pending bills to Granite until this problem was rectified.

For more information on Monday's commissioners' meeting, see a future
edition of the Sullivan Daily Times.

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