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Conway terminates its telephone vendor/technician

Posted: May 15, 2014 - 5:02pm

There were different opinions about whether it was case of poor customer service or purely a personality conflict, but Conway’s telephone system vendor and technician for more than 20 years was “fired” at Tuesday night’s Conway City Council meeting.

The city’s IT department director, Lloyd Hartzell, recommended at the April 22 council meeting that the city end its contract with Conway-based Kirby Communications and go with a different telephone vendor. 

There was a lengthy debate between Hartzell, Kirby Communications owner Stacy Kirby Davis and the council at the council’s April 22 meeting. Hartzell said that Davis wouldn’t give his department the telephone access codes. Davis said that it was accepted practice in his industry to deny these access codes to anyone who wasn’t a trained technician. Hartzell said that Davis didn’t return emails. Davis said that he reads and responds to emails three times a day, and prefers voice calls. The council voted at that meeting to table the decision and asked for Hartzell and Davis to send them information about the relationship between the city and Kirby Communications.

On Tuesday, Mayor Tab Townsell recommended that the council not accept Kirby Communication’s bid to continue being the city’s telephone vendor and service provider. Townsell said that “after weeks and months of arguing” it was clear to him that the personality clash was not going to be resolved.

Councilman David Grimes agreed. “I regret that it’s come to this point,” Grimes said. “… Here’s the reality for the council: There’s always going to be a conflict there that can’t be resolved. The council does not have the authority to remove Mr. Hartzell, so all we can do is remove the vendor.

“I’m not happy it’s gotten this far,” Grimes continued. “Good lord, folks, work this [sort of thing] out. I work in business. Sometimes you have to work it out.”

Councilwoman Mary Smith told Hartzell that she heard him say at the last meeting that several departments were not pleased with Kirby Communications. “I called those departments and they had nothing but glowing remarks.” Smith told Davis that she was sorry that it had come to this. 

Davis wasn’t allowed to speak at the meeting. Townsell said that his time to speak at the April 22 meeting and the information he sent to city hall at the council’s request satisfied his due process rights. He tried to give Hartzell a plastic bag with what looked like CD-ROM disks in it that he said had the access codes Hartzell had requested, but Townsell said it wasn’t the appropriate time.

The council voted 7-1 to give Benton-based Netcom the contract. Councilman Mark Ledbetter voted against it. 

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4hogfans
373
Points
4hogfans 05/15/14 - 08:07 pm
7
0
Kudos to Mark Ledbetter!!

Thanks Mr. Ledbetter for voting for what should have been a unanimous vote in favor of Kirby Communications; and shame on Mary Smith for not standing up and voting for Kirby especially after verifying what Hartzell had said previously, (about several departments "not pleased" with Kirby)were simply not true. Yes, shame on you Mary Smith for voting how Tab wanted you to vote! Shame, Shame!!

Igor Rabinowitz
8431
Points
Igor Rabinowitz 05/16/14 - 08:18 am
2
4
Um

"... accepted practice in his industry to deny these access codes to anyone who wasn’t a trained technician"

No it's not.

< over a decade in the biz, and longer than that maintaining phone systems

conwaygerl
5153
Points
conwaygerl 05/16/14 - 03:28 pm
4
2
Indeed

Whether it is an accepted practice or not, it's not a bad practice.

You only have to get burned once by someone with too much access to learn that lesson.

Edit: I've been driving for decades but I still wear a seatbelt.

RWeDoneYet
120
Points
RWeDoneYet 05/16/14 - 08:29 am
4
2
Good luck

Good luck getting someone from Benton to service your equipment when it snows.
The city of Conway should use local vendors.
Stacy is the best in Conway and allowing a novice to reprogram systems is always a mistake.
He should give the codes to Hartzell and then wait for every system in Conway to crash.
Rain snow or shine. Stacy will be here. The techs from Benton will be in Benton. Bad move Tab.

conwaypublicperson
28
Points
conwaypublicperson 05/17/14 - 03:02 am
2
1
right

why should the city be at the mercy of one person...fire tornado,police....this is communication ,I would want the codes also.

Dark Knight 1
91
Points
Dark Knight 1 05/17/14 - 12:08 pm
1
1
right

The city also DID have the access codes for the past 4 years, on the system cd that was delivered on the first day of operation Kirby's gives a System CD to All new phone system owners for the reason if something happened to me they could have ANY NEC trained technician work on their system.On that note the company that replaced me has Never installed or maintained a NEC UX5000 Communications server. When they turned in the Bid for qualifications they did NOT even have certification on it. So if you gave me a car and sent a 7 year old to pick it up I wouldn't give them the key until they sent someone with a LICENSE! or in this case CERTIFICATION.

conwaygerl
5153
Points
conwaygerl 05/16/14 - 08:48 am
2
2
Yay

We have a Springdale Christmas Tree and Benton phone vendor.
#Conway!

You don't give full access to the intern that works 3 hours a day between classes and their other job. So, of course you limit your access code privs.

"I prefer voice calls" means that someone at the city doesn't even know what questions to ask to get to the resolution. So instead of 50-60 email exchanges, just call and settle it in less than 5 minutes, with the agreement to text/email the outcome of the call for written verification.

Or just fire the man that gets glowing recommendations.
Lots of those guys left, I'm sure.

Elmer Fudd
3064
Points
Elmer Fudd 05/16/14 - 12:55 pm
2
1
And a

San Diego fountain.

arkansasobserver
3244
Points
arkansasobserver 05/16/14 - 09:04 am
3
1
Igor right again!

The owner of a phone system has every right to the codes used to program their phone system. If an untrained owner uses them and creates a problem, then they will pay for the vendor to fix it. Refusal to provide them is cause enough to terminate the relationship.

reader
18428
Points
reader 05/16/14 - 09:27 am
0
1
Ditto that

Some private companies only lease their system and it might not apply, depending upon their agreement. If a customer buys their system they have the right to all logins and access. I've worked on communications and computers since Step offices and DOS 1.0. There are enough retired phone company people in Faulkner County to start a new communications company and compete with the existing big boys.

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