Bid on software for jail drops when questions are raised

June 13, 2004|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - The prices from a second bidder for software for the Boyle County Detention Center seems to have had an impact on the current holder of the contract.

Evercom currently holds the contract which expires, along with the software, at the end of this month. The Texas company presented a proposal to the Joint Jail Committee at its May meeting. The up-front costs listed in Evercom's brochures and those listed by the second bidder, Digitech, were very similar.

However, representatives of Digitech present at Friday's meeting of the committee could not list a cost for support after the first year and that may have been the Glasgow firm's biggest problem.

When the two men were excused, the committee got down to comparing prices and products.

Support service for the Jail Administration Management Systems by Evercom is included in its fees and those fees were reduced after a telephone conversation between jail Capt. Phil Yates and an Evercom representative.


Evercom's original offer included a monthly fee of $1,228 for a 36-month term. Digitech would only charge a monthly payment for its Jail Tracker software if the committee decided to lease the software rather than buy it at the beginning of the contract.

Evercom lowered its monthly fee to $1,127

Evercom later lowered its monthly fee to $1,127 for 30 months, a savings of more than $10,000 over the life of the contract. That price included no finance charges for the subscription to its software and a drop from $412 to $151 for professional services.

"They could have come with this the first time,'' Boyle County Attorney Richard Campbell said about Evercom's lower prices. "They were trying to rip us off.''

Yates, who is not a member of the committee but accompanies Jailer Barry Harmon to most meetings, agreed, but said he still preferred Evercom's offer.

Yates set up a conference call with Keith Williams, director of advanced applications with Evercom. One of the first questions put to him was why Evercom was reducing its prices now. Williams replied that other previous software customers had said the price for the new software was unfair.

"We're releasing new pricing for (previous software) clients Monday,'' Williams said, adding the local jail committee was getting an early release of the revised prices.

The inclusion of support services seemed to turn the tide toward Evercom. In the end, Boyle County Judge-Executive Tony Wilder said he thought the other committee members should defer to Harmon, who said he preferred Evercom's contract offer and that was the decision of the committee.

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