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  • Charlene Sims, Journal staff

Brightspeed neither quick nor shining in moving dispatch

Updated: Dec 23, 2022

MOUND CITY – On Monday, Nov. 28, Linn County Information Technology Director Chris Martin updated the commissioners on the move of the Linn County 911 dispatchers to the new Justice Center building.

Martin told the commissioners that all that was stopping 911 services from moving to the Justice Center was work that Brightspeed, formerly Lumen and CenturyLink, had not completed.

Martin said that he and Sheriff Kevin Friend have been meeting weekly with Brightspeed to get the 911 circuits completed. However, they have not been able to get them to put the necessary wiring in the building so that the 911 dispatchers could move there.

He said that Friend had been trying to light a fire under them, but so far nothing has worked.

“We just can’t get them to put wire in the building, we don’t know what is taking so long. It is becoming very frustrating,” said Martin. “They were supposed to have everything installed by the 30th, we got an email this morning saying they will not.”

Because they are the local phone company, they are our only option to get the 911 circuits in, said Martin. He said without them the county cannot operate 911.

Martin said that there was a little bit of digging involved but that Brightspeed had not even called in a locate order. It takes a few days before the order is issued.

He said that he had called locate last week just to head off that waiting period but he was pretty sure they were not going to accept the county’s locate request because it will not be doing the digging. However, the county at least knows there are no wires where digging is to be done.

Martin said, “They (Brightspeed) are dropping balls left and right. And we are talking six wires. There’s a handhold outside. The conduit is already in the building. They just need to pull wire into it. It is not as complicated as they are making it.”

“We have had meetings every week on Tuesdays with them and they just tell us the same thing and act like it is a big positive. Last week they said it just got of engineering. Well, it should have been out of engineering weeks ago,” said Martin.

County Counselor Gary Thompson said that Brightspeed was the only option because they served this area.

The commissioners plan to demolish the old sheriff’s building where the dispatchers are now but that process has been stymied until the dispatchers can move. The county had hoped to get the gas lines and other utilities moved and the building demolished before winter.

Martin also reported on problems with the generators at the Justice Center. He said that last Friday the power went out and it turns out that the boilers that provide heat and hot water at the center are not connected to the generators.

“The building management system also went off because it is in the same area,” said Martin.

Martin said that he was talking to River City, the center’s construction company, and the electrician has a very quick fix for the immediate need of the boiler room.

Martin told the commissioners that he and Friend had also discussed that another very important area was the kitchen area, with the freezers. And cooks cannot prepare meals because the gas grills use electric ignition.

Thompson said it sounded to him like a design flaw and that River City will talk with the engineering firm for the center, Goldberg, Sullivan, and McCrerey Inc., and get back with the county.

Martin also gave the commissioners some good news that all of the switches and cameras needed for the justice center were finally being shipped. The were supposed to originally be sent in June 2021.

Martin said that his department would be working for the next couple of weeks installing this equipment.

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