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Complaint against Aparc cites numerous failures

Posted: December 26, 2013 - 1:08am

The City and Borough of Juneau’s complaint filed in the Juneau Superior Court last week states that Aparc trumpeted its system’s real-time enforcement capabilities as a strong point when working to secure the job back in 2010.

The lack of reliable real-time data transfer from the parking meters to a central system and subsequently to handheld devices used by parking enforcement personnel has been one of the main problems with the meters.

“Aparc has not met its obligations, promises and warranties under the contract, despite the CBJ’s patience in allowing Aparc two years to deliver the services and product it promised in its Proposal and Executive Letter,” city manager Kim Kiefer wrote to Aparc in a Dec. 18 letter notifying the company of the contract termination and pending legal action.

The exact amount of damages the city is suing for is to be determined at trial, but Kiefer previously told the Juneau Empire that it will likely be in excess of $500,000. The original contract was for $515,381.50, and the city has paid more than $400,000 to Aparc since signing the contract Sept. 16, 2010.

The city’s request for proposals required the winning bidder to meet 19 “mandatory criteria,” according to the city’s complaint.

Some of those criteria included credit card authorization taking less than 10 seconds at the machines, operating with real time communication and no meter being out of operation for longer than 48 hours due to mechanical problems.

Aparc’s executive letter to the city, which was a response to the request for proposal, stated that Aparc’s “program will exceed the City’s objectives both now and in the future.”

A document summarizing the technical services to be provided stated the real-time handheld enforcement system would ensure “we do not ticket vehicles that are paying customers.”

City officials previously told the Empire one of the problems with the system’s communication shortfall was enforcement personnel being unable to tell if a car was a paying customer or parked illegally.

In a Nov. 12 letter to the city requesting the CBJ reconsider cancelling the contract — city officials had notified Aparc of those intentions in early November — the company pointed to poor cellular coverage in the downtown area as a leading cause for the system’s problems.

But in the court filed complaint, the city cited the same issue as a failure on Aparc’s part.

The document faults the Nevada company for “installing a 2G network system for real-time communications, which APARC knew or should have known, was obsolete and would not be compatible with CBJ’s network provider, which was operating on a 4G system.”

“We contracted for someone to have a system installed in Juneau,” Kiefer said previously. “It’s up to them to make it work with the infrastructure that’s available. It’s the contractor’s responsibility.”

• Contact reporter Matt Woolbright at 523-2243 or at matthew.woolbright@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reportermatt.

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