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From the Desk of Commissioner Candidate Marty Qually

(9/1) Imagine if this week’s earthquake had been closer: close enough to Harrisburg to cause a nuclear emergency. Now imagine what would have happened if our antiquated County Radio System continued to provide spotty coverage in parts of our County and failed to allow our first responders to properly communicate with five neighboring Counties. This is not an impossible scenario, and with our current radio system (some parts dating back to the 1950’s) we are looking at a potential system wide failure. Even as I write this Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the East Coast: these scenarios are not science fiction, they are real.

Last month the four candidates for Adams County Commissioner had the privilege of meeting with John Eline, the County’s Director of Emergency Services, to discuss the Adams County Radio Project. I was awed by the amount of work that has gone into this project, not just from John Eline and County Staff, but the countless hours from volunteers throughout Adams County. I must admit that until this year I was mostly unaware of the desperate need in our county for an upgrade to our radio system. After learning of the necessity for this system I want to be very clear where I stand on this topic.

We must find a way to create and pay for a modern radio system. We must give our first responders the tools they need to keep us safe.

All of this information was presented at our meeting with John Eline. I was fortunate to learn in a few hours what it took many experts years to develop. If elected, my job as a County Commissioner will not be to be the expert, but instead to utilize my ability to learn from the experts. That being said here are some of the important points Mr. Eline shared with all four Adams County Commissioner Candidates last month.

A County Radio Work Group was formed in 2000 and again in 2008 to determine the shortcomings of our current system. They found following issues: unreliable and spotty coverage, the radio signal could not penetrate modern construction, 1st responders were being put at risk, the system was susceptible to interference, older equipment was no longer being manufactured, not enough channels to handle current user load, limited interoperability i.e. it is difficult to communicate between departments especially from neighboring Counties, data cannot be sent to help with response efforts, law enforcement and fire departments are holding off on purchasing new equipment until the County has a plan.

The proposed system would solve or greatly address all of these issues. The difficulty with this decision is the potential price tag of $20-24 million dollars. I know from meeting with John Eline that they are making every effort to bring this cost down; they have investigated every avenue but cannot start saving money until they can begin negotiating with a vendor. The current Board of Commissioners, based upon the recommendation of the County Department of Emergency Services, the volunteer Radio Work Group and the overwhelming majority of County first responders support approving Motorola as the next vendor.

If the current Board of Commissioners fails to approve Motorola as the vendor for a County Radio System, why should Adams County voters put their faith in me to take action? When it comes to this Radio System highly capable people have spent innumerable hours finding the most cost effective way to implement the safest project for all of us. For me to ignore their recommendation would be unconscionable. I remember one year my furnace failed as winter approached. I was trying to provide for my family and living paycheck to paycheck. I could not afford to take out a loan to buy the new furnace but I had no choice. As a father my job is to take care of my family. This decision is no different. I love my County and will not put our families in harms way. We cannot wait until Spring. We cannot delay; we must act on this. Only then can we continue working to find the most cost effective way to purchase the product that gets the job done.

In order for me to serve you and help first responders and County families remain safe, I need your vote on November 8th for County Commissioner. Like the team of first responders that protect us, my campaign is not a one-man show, it is only with your support and a strong team of volunteers that I will win this election and help our County.

If you would like to discuss any issues or become a part of my campaign team please contact me at 717-339-6514 or at marty@martyqually.com. And feel free to visit my website at www.martyqually.com

Marty Qually

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