Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alert: Silicon Valley Governments Call for Federal - State Probes of BayWEB Public Safety Stimulus Grant 10/13/2010 San Francisco - The Mayor of San Jose and the County Executive of Santa Clara County, the two largest governmental bodies in California's Silicon Valley, have now formally issued a call for federal and state probes of the award of a $50 million federal stimulus grant to Motorola, Inc. (now, Motorola Solutions, Inc.; NYSE: MSI).

In a letter dated yesterday, October 12, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, and Santa Clara County Executive Jeffrey Smith wrote to the U.S. Department of Commerce saying they "are moving forward with a request for an investigation by appropriate state and federal entities."

Among several allegations which directly challenge the public ethics and procurement practices leading up to the $50 million award, are those focused on the agency that did the slection, and its Executive Director.  Ms. Laura Phillips, the agency head "and four of her senior staff are prior employees of the successful grantee, Motorola," states the letter.  Reed and Smith continue "this fact risks compromising the project and the grant process. Without a formal independent investigation, we cannot be sure whether or not local, state, and federal laws or regulations have been violated."

The fact that Ms. Laura Phillips and 3 of her staff closely involved in the selection of Motorola are themselves ex-employees of the Schaumberg, IL based wireless equipment manufacturer was first reported by 2 weeks ago, on September 29. Our report detailed the background and activities of Ms. Phillips' agency, the Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), comprised of employees of the City and County of San Francisco.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2006 appointed Phillips to head the city's Department of Emergency Management (DEM), following a report by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that his previous DEM head was both unqualified for the position and had engaged in mismanagement. In 2008 Phillips was shifted to head UASI, a federal granted supported agency for which the City serves as fiscal agent.  

Following our report, there has been a steady increase in media reports about the agency and the broadband stimulus grant issued on August 18 to Motorola by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of Commerce.

San Jose - Santa Clara Response to NTIA 101210

The BayWEB Examination is our compendium of information on the project. We believe it is the most comprehensive such collection available. We have assembled links to all media coverage of the issue, to online documents secured by us from confidential and open sources, to documents secured by others and by this publication under federal and state public records filings, and to our own published reporting.

Note on awardee identification: The project grant was applied for by, and subsequently awarded to, the entity Motorola, Inc., formally traded as (NYSE: MOT). Motorola, Inc. was split into 2 new and separate companies, which both began trading on January 5, 2011.  The network infrastructure side of the business, all public safety equipment lines, and the network integration / management services divisions became Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI). We have retroactively re-tagged our BayWEB stories with the MSI ticker symbol.
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