Potter County now dodging questions over faulty network - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

NewsChannel 10 Investigates: Potter County now dodging questions over faulty network

AMARILLO, TX- A network glitch at the newly renovated Potter County courthouse now has the county dodging questions.

We first told you Tuesday about a wireless server problem which could cost millions to fix.
Potter County purchased a $230,000 network server for its courthouse downtown in April 2011.

It's a pretty big chunk of change nobody is publicly taking responsibility for after workers testing out the system discovered it wasn't fully functioning.

On Monday, news surfaced the county courthouse's wireless network server would only work roughly 70-percent of the time. This opened up the potential for slow connectivity, re-boots, even dropped voice calls according to commissioner Mercy Murguia.

The county says they are working closely with AMA TechTel to fix a problem which could cost as much as $3 million.

At first glance, it would appear as though AMA is coming to the rescue----saving the county from Meru Networks, a California based company who they say sold the server to them.

However, NewsChannel 10 obtained a check which highlights an interesting fact.

A check was made out in May 2011 in the amount of $409,114.53 to AMA TechTel here in Amarillo.

The county auditor explained this was a 50-percent down payment for the network server along with a digital voice calling package that is being installed in the courthouse.

While heat was shifting over to Meru Networks, NewsChannel 10 learned Meru and AMA are related.

The network was even sold by Amarillo sales associate Marc Bennett.

Here's the million dollar question: 

Should the county be paying another $3 million to AMA TechTel to fix a problem they allegedly caused?     

We've been calling AMA since Tuesday, only to be informed we would have to go through their media relations specialist but that we couldn't get his or her name because that information was "confidential."

Meanwhile, we placed calls into Mike Head, Potter County's facilities manager for comment, but his secretary informed us all calls must go through their IT Director, Shawn Gill. We left him two voice mails, but he has yet to respond.

The following commissioners participated in a vote to approve the network purchase:

H.R. Kelly-Precinct 1

Manny Perez (deceased)-Precinct 2

Joe Kirkwood- Precinct 3

Alphonso Vaughn- Precinct 4

Calls to H.R. Kelly were unsuccessful.

Commissioner Joe Kirkwood did speak with us over the phone, but said he didn't want to jump to premature conclusions and referred us back to newly elected commissioner Mercy Murguia. 

Lastly, we placed a call into commissioner Alphonso Vaughn's office, but the woman who answered said he wasn't in and that he doesn't have voicemail, so we couldn't leave a taped message.

Vaughn told a local newspaper he heard vague indicators there were issues with the system but didn't know the extent until Monday.

He also said he was just coming onto the court at the time the deal was made.

However, his signature signed and dated back in April 2011, indicates he approved AMA TechTel to proceed with the project.

On Thursday, NewsChannel 10 learned AMA and county employees had a telephone conference to discuss what action they will be taking to fix the problem.

We have not received any word whether a solution has been reached.

NewsChannel 10 will continue to stay on top of this developing story and bring you any new updates as they become available.

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