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September phone outage prompts city to OK new system

About one month after the deadline for submitting proposals to the city for a new telephone system, the existing 23-year-old system failed over the weekend of Sept. 13-14.

The system was restored by 10 a.m. Sept. 15 but the outage did prompt the city council to declare an emergency at that day's study session and approve spending about $20,000 to buy the new telephone system.

The Avaya IP 500 Office telephone system from Angeles Communications hopefully should be installed next month, said Steve Rose, the city's information technology manager.

The outage did not affect the city's alarm system, Internet service or 9-1-1 system, he said. The outage first was announced during the council's Monday study session, which begins at 9 a.m. Following the announcement, the council was asked to declare an emergency and approve buying a new telephone system to replace the one installed in 1985.

A message was put on the city's Web site and a cell phone number for people to call was being chosen when it was announced about 10 a.m. that the system was operating again.

Rose said the outage began about 2 p.m. Sept. 13 when the power supply failed, although he didn't find out until the next day.

"I came in Sunday to do some other work and (administrative services director Karen Goschen) had left a voice mail on my BlackBerry saying the phone system was down. I tried to trace the problem and was pretty confident it was the power supply," Rose said.

"I contacted Angeles Communications and they found a power supply unit and got it back up and running," he said.

The outage occurred about two months after the council approved a "request for proposals" for new telephone system equipment and a month after the deadline for submitting proposals.

The issue first was discussed at the council's July 14 meeting.

Rose said the city installed a new telephone system when the Public Works and Planning departments were moved into their current location at 615 N. Fifth Ave.

This new system will be an extension of that existing one, since it was a significant investment, he said.

Then when Public Works and Planning are moved back into the same building as the rest of city hall, the two systems will be merged, Rose said.

The Police Department's telephone system is a newer one, so that won't have to be replaced for five or six years unless a new one is installed when the new Police Department building is built, he said.

"It's been in the budget for two years but kept getting taken out because it was so expensive. I don't want people to think we weren't aware of it or doing anything about it," Rose said.

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