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The chairman will announce the next WiCAB meeting 30 days in advance of the determined date.

The WiCAB Vision

When emergencies have occurred in Tennessee, previous experience has shown that responders arrive with the equipment that they have been using in their daily jobs. This wireless communications equipment is often outdated and configured to operate in a non-disaster environment or not available in the quantity required for a large-scale catastrophe. Such equipment may be adequate for small, everyday emergency events involving one, two or three agencies, but proves to be wholly insufficient to integrate into a scenario requiring the intertwined needs of multiple agencies or jurisdictions.

To correct the potential for re-experiencing what occurred during Hurricane Katrina and other similar large-scale catastrophes, Governor Phil Bredesen directed in Executive Order 49 on August 29, 2007 that a well-planned program be established to tie together all departments, agencies and jurisdictions of the state, along with charitable and non-governmental organizations, so that they can easily and effectively communicate with each other over common communications equipment and frequencies.

The executive order created the Tennessee Public Safety Wireless Interoperability Communications Advisory Board (short name, WICAB) to develop a standards-based interoperable communications capability through implementation of a 700/800 MHz system. The order required that this communications system be capable of supporting statewide mutual aid and that older types of communications or legacy systems be integrated into it. The governor directed that the system ensure all types of government and quasi-government agency responders be able to communicate in emergencies and disasters and that partnerships are built to ensure interoperable capability over long periods of time.

Due to the practical inequities imposed on State government by decreasing revenues in August 2009, the WiCAB suspended its intensive effort to develop a phased seven year Strategic Plan, to develop a request for proposal (to create a contract), and to oversee and manage another contractor to build a statewide interoperable communications system. There simply were not enough funds available to either build the system or maintain it. The long-range plan remains in place to eventually construct an interoperable wireless communications system, but fiscal realities require the project to be accomplished over a more lengthy period of time. The charter was altered since there was no short range forecast that predicted availability of the money required to field the system.

The Governor has directed that the board continue its work using whatever funds or opportunities present themselves, continuing to guide new systems to incorporate the terms of the executive order. Local participation will continue to be solicited from county mayors, sheriffs' association members, police chiefs' association members and emergency management association members.

WiCAB Organization and Rules of Operation

The Tennessee Public Safety Wireless Interoperable Communications Advisory Board (or WICAB, for short) was created to advise the Governor in creating a communications system that will ensure all government departments and agencies can understand each other over the network.

The WICAB consists of 13 members, including the:

Director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency
Adjutant General of the Department of Military
Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
Director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture
Commissioner of the Department of Correction
Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Conservation
Commissioner of the Department of Finance and Administration
Commissioner of the Department of Health
Commissioner of the Department of Safety
Commissioner of the Department of Transportation

Two representatives of local government (the practical application of which is a representative from an "urban" jurisdiction and a representative from a "rural" jurisdiction). The Director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is appointed as Chairman. The board selected the Commissioner of the Department of Safety as the Vice-Chair.

The board adopted new by-laws and rules on December 15, 2008 which reduced standing committees to two:

Executive Committee
Users Committee

The standing committees will receive new guidelines for operation in coming meetings.

Users Committee

  • Recommend concept requirements to improve response and recovery
  • Provide operational information related to the use of systems, areas of operation or emergency response plans
  • Provide information on interoperability requirements with other departments

The board further adopted ground rules for operation of the board:

  • Sub-elements. Committees or subcommittees shall be formed only by decision of the board chairman.
  • Rules of operation. Each sub-element may establish its own ground rules for operating and may use the updated WICAB by-laws as a guide; however, this is subject to board's public information rules limitation.
  • Minutes or records. Sub-elements are not required to maintain minutes, but the WICAB itself must maintain minutes for formal record. Products or deliverables of sub-elements and the board will be captured at the board level in the minutes.
  • Secretary or Administrative Support. Only the WICAB (the board itself) will receive administrative support from TEMA; each sub-element must arrange for its own support.
  • Release of Information. The board or any of its sub-elements will not be subject to open meetings rules since this is a Governor's advisory board. No one may waive this rule except the chairman of the board. This rule helps prevent violations of law and state purchasing regulations. The minutes of each meeting are releasable, and a summary of the meetings will be available on-line after the meeting. No sidebars are allowed for members to talk with media, contractors or lobbyists, and releases will be handled by the board itself through the Public Awareness Coordinator. An information letter or letters will be developed for release to legislators, media and other interested parties (to be accomplished by the PAC; the State Agency PIOs will not release WICAB information unless it relates to their agency itself).
  • Each chair of a committee will, when requested, present project deliverables and recommendations to the board in writing and will present a briefing to the board using PowerPoint.

WiCAB By-Laws


Authority and Objectives

Section 1.  The name shall be the Tennessee Public Safety Wireless Communications Advisory

             Board (WICAB) with the principal office at the offices of the Tennessee Emergency

             Management Agency, Nashville, Tennessee.

Section 2.  These by-laws are adopted under the authority of State of Tennessee Governor's

             Executive Order 49, dated August 27, 2007.

Section 3.  The objectives and purposes of the WICAB are set forth in Governor's Executive

             Order 49 and will retain only those powers and duties delegated to it by the Governor.

Section 4.  The WICAB is established to oversee the planning, design, development,

             implementation and maintenance of a statewide wireless interoperable

             communications system for the purpose of:

                    - responding expeditiously and effectively to all emergencies affecting public


                    - protecting the safety and security of the citizens of this state;

Section 5.  The WICAB shall recommend through the Director of the Tennessee Emergency

             Management Agency to the Adjutant General in the Department of Military such

             plans or proposals to guide, plan, design, develop, implement, and maintain a

             statewide public safety wireless interoperable communications system.

Section 6.  The WICAB is established to focus communications projects of state and county

             government with the goal of complete future interoperability:

  • The board will approve communications projects and set priorities when necessary in the grant process to obtain tools and utilize common frequencies.
  • The WICAB shall be a forum for synergy and shall encourage

        departments and agencies to share plans, programs and concepts with    

        each other so planning can amplify results.

  • The WICAB will identify communications issues, offer opportunities to solve contentious and joint challenges.
  • The WICAB will propose policy, establish convergence of plans and recommend training and integration of systems into the response and support scenarios.

Section 7.  The WICAB will evaluate the need for resources necessary to develop, implement and

                         train emergency communications systems and may provide recommendations

                         regarding funding sources, to include state appropriations, federal appropriations or

                         grants and gifts.



Section 1.  The WICAB shall consist of 13 members as defined by Governor's Executive Order 49:

             a)  Director, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

             b)  The Adjutant General, Department of Military.

             c)  Director, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

             d)  Director, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

             e)  Commissioner, Department of Agriculture.

             f)   Commissioner, Department of Correction.

             g)  Commissioner, Department of Environment and Conservation.

             h)  Commissioner, Department of Finance and Administration.

             i)   Commissioner, Department of Health.

             j)   Commissioner, Department of Safety.

             k)  Commissioner, Department of Transportation.

             l)   Two representatives of local government.

Section 2.  The terms of the members shall be indefinite or to the end of their department or

             agency appointment.

Section 3.  Members may designate an alternate to represent them at Board meetings.  Such

             designees will have full voting rights on behalf of the regular member.

Section 4.  When more than one representative from a department, agency or organization

             attends, there shall be only one voting member recognized from that organization.



Section 1.  The director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) shall serve

             as Chairperson of the Board.

Section 2.  The vice chairperson shall initially be the Commissioner of the Department of Safety

             and shall serve with consent of the majority of the members of the Board.

Section 3.  The Chairperson shall preside at all meetings and public hearings of the WICAB and

             shall have the powers normally conferred by parliamentary usage of his office.  He

             shall have the power to appoint subcommittees, call special meetings, and to perform

             such other duties as may be ordered by the membership.  The Chairperson shall have

             the privilege of discussing all matters before the WICAB and to vote thereon.

Section 4.  In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson will preside.

Section 5.  The Chairperson (or Vice Chairperson) may invite technical experts or other interested

             parties to attend meetings and to provide information, but these persons will not have

             a vote unless they are a member or an alternate to a member.

Section 6.  The Chairperson of the Board will designate a Public Awareness Coordinator who will

             act for the WICAB in regard to notices to members regarding official business and

             Meetings.  The PAC may refer interested parties to the proper authority for actions.

             The PAC will present a summary of decisions at the end of each meeting and actions

             expected of identified persons prior to the next meeting.  The PAC shall assist in

             providing administrative support for any legal proceedings.  The PAC will recommend

             procedures for receiving and processing requests from the public for information

             under the Tennessee Open Records Act, TCA 10-7-503.  The PAC shall respond to

             inquiries on behalf of the Board or with consent of the Board within a reasonable

             period of time after receipt of the request.  The PAC will make provisions for public

             notification of committee activities, public meetings to discuss emergency

             communications plans, budgets, public comments, response to such comments by the

             board and distribution of any information to the public.  The PAC will keep the

             minutes and public records of the WICAB and ensure these records are archived or

             retained as required by law.

Section 7.  When a State Interoperable Communications Coordinator is appointed, this official will

             be invited to each meeting in a non-voting status to ensure effective coordination of

             Board actions with duty functions of review of projects and actions, validation of

             purchases or other acquisitions, inspection of programs, budget planning and

             execution and contractor performance.  The SICC will provide concepts and

             innovations to the board which may speed the networking of emergency management

             communications and will seek ways of improving information sharing with board

             members and its satellites or other interested parties.



Section 1.  Subcommittees may be appointed by the Chairperson for those persons and terms as

             designated by the Chairperson.

Section 2.  Standing subcommittees may be appointed where the area of interest or topics

             consistently return to the floor.


Regular Meetings

Section 1.  The Chairperson of the Board shall determine when meetings shall be held.  Any

             regular meeting may be adjourned to another definite date by a majority vote of the


Section 2.  All records of such meetings shall be open to the general public.

Section 3.  A simple majority of the membership of the WICAB shall constitute a quorum.  A

             quorum must be present before any business is transacted.  The PAC will call the roll

             and assist the Chairperson in determining the quorum.  When a quorum cannot

             be established, the Chairperson will announce the date of the next meeting and

             arrange for the appropriate notifications.

Section 4.  At all meetings, each member (or designee) attending shall be entitled to cast one

             vote with the total vote never exceeding 13.  In case of a tie, the Chairperson's vote

             shall determine the vote.  When there is a quorum, the affirmative vote of a majority of

             those present is necessary for an official action.  In the event that any member shall

             have a direct or indirect personal interest in any business before the WICAB, the

             member shall disclose the interest and be disqualified from voting upon the business.

Section 5.  All required plans, proposed actions and formal reports of the WICAB must be

             approved by a majority vote of a quorum at a meeting announced by the Chairperson

             with at least two weeks advance notice to voting members stating that such an act is

             part of the agenda.

Section 6.  The order of business at a regular monthly meeting shall be as follows:

             a)  Roll call determination of a quorum.

             b)  Reading and approval of the minutes of the previous meeting.

             c)  Reports by officers or subcommittees (standing subcommittees shall submit a


             d)  Old business.

             e)  New business.

             f)   Summary of decisions and actions expected (presented by the PAC).

             g)  Adjournment.

Section 7.  Copies of the minutes of each meeting shall be provided to the members of the Board

             prior to the succeeding meeting.


Special Meetings

Section 1.  When special meetings are called requiring consideration of WICAB activities, the

             WICAB shall hold a public hearing after proper notice.

Section 2.  In addition to those required by law, the WICAB may hold, at its discretion, special

             public hearings when such hearings are deemed to be in the public interest

             (determined by the Chairperson or vote of the Board).

Section 3.  During a public hearing, interested parties may submit comments regarding any

             emergency plan or action verbally or in writing which will be considered by the Board

             and read or written into the record.  The Chairperson or WICAB may or may not

             comment on these submissions.

Section 4.  A public record shall be kept of those speaking before the WICAB at public hearings

             or presented to the WICAB in writing.


Adoption and Amendment

Section 1.  The by-laws herein shall be in full force and effect at the first non-organizational

             meeting and all subsequent meetings following the adoption of the document by a

             majority vote of the members of the current membership of the WICAB or as of such

             date as may be specially designated.

Section 2.  The by-laws may be amended or repealed at a regular meeting by a majority vote of

             the current membership of the WICAB, provided it still meets the requirements of the

             Governor's Executive Order.  After the membership or the repeal has been approved,

             it shall take effect at the next regular meeting.

WiCAB Progress to Date

The Tennessee Public Safety Wireless Interoperable Communications Advisory Board (or WICAB, for short) was established to ensure that an alternate means of communications to telephone is created that will work for all emergency management headquarters in the state and enhance the capabilities of incident managers. The WICAB (or board) formed and conducted its first meeting on October 23, 2007 with Chairman Jim Bassham presiding. All members identified by title in the executive order were present, but two local government representatives had not yet been appointed by the governor. In their stead, two temporary appointments were made to represent local interests who were in attendance. This reflected the strong commitment by all interests in ensuring the goals of the governor are met. In the first meeting, the board approved by-laws, established rules of operation and formed four standing committees: Planning, Resources, Technical and Users.

In the second meeting on November 19, 2007, the board reached out to incorporate its first selection of projects to meet the criteria of the executive order. The board granted the chairman specific powers to make notifications of awards, caveats or other information as required in letters to jurisdictions that submitted projects for a Public Safety Interoperability System grant. The board reviewed the Department of Homeland Security Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) grant project and approved projects selected by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency using a P25 standard. Selections were made from 15 applications totaling over $73.5 million to apply for a $17.5 million grant. Five projects were chosen for application and the board approved forwarding the applications to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in addition to a required strategic reserve to be used for expansion of emergencies.

The following projects were approved for PSIC grant submission:

  • District 3 Plan, City of Chattanooga, construction of a 9-county regional interoperability system, $14,000,000.
  • District 11 Plan, Memphis UASI area, purchase of three caches of 25 radios and 3 portable towers, including Communications Unit Leader training costing $50,000 to support NIMS/ICS, $565,000.
  • District 5 Plan, Williamson County, LETS Talk project to crossband UHF and VHF radio systems, $412,000.
  • Obion County Plan, 200 radios for use by first responders to complete an 800 MHz trunked radio system, $285,600.
  • Tennessee Department of Correction Plan, licensing of the master P25 switch in Morgan County, $275,000.
  • Strategic Reserve, purchase of a radio cache and tower on wheels for the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) threat, $1,358,506 (required by PSIC stipulation).

In the third meeting on January 22, 2008, the newly approved Communications Consultant Project Manager was introduced. Buford Goff & Associates was selected as contractor on December 13, 2007. The board reviewed the approved nominations for the PSIC grant again. The vision was formally established, the project management plan was approved, and formal tasking for committees and their working groups was made. The board approved the membership of the Planning Committee, the Resource Committee and Technical Committee.

In the fourth meeting on February 25, 2008, the board chose "TnWIN" as the acronym to describe the interoperable communications system being created by the WICAB, the Tennessee Wireless Interoperable Net. The board also added "voice and data" to the vision statement. The board agreed that a report is now due to the Governor regarding the activities of the WICAB, and a meeting will be arranged with the Deputy Governor to meet this requirement.

In the fifth meeting on March 25, 2008, the board discussed the plan to build a TnWIN support framework of communications technicians. Many departments stated a preference to retain control of communications personnel who would support that department's equipment and services. An amount somewhat over $40,000 was approved for the contractor.

In the sixth meeting on April 29, 2008, the TVR system operated by the City of Chattanooga was briefed and presented as a "model" program due to its reliability. The contractor reported that the SWOT analysis had been completed. The system maintenance organization was discussed and referred to the Planning Committee. A draft Request for Proposal (RFP) has been developed.

In the seventh meeting on May 20, 2008, the board heard the contractor report that the baseline assessment had been accomplished. The Strategic Plan and the final RFP are the only products due from the contractor. A discussion occurred on the impact on the state of "narrow-banding" conversion by 2013 and the costs associated with it. This is a federal regulatory requirement, and systems must be converted or stop operation.

In the eighth meeting on June 24, 2008, the board heard a report on the discovery of recurring costs generated by TnWIN. An implementation plan has been developed to be carried to the Governor for approval. A decision was made not to release information on the process until it has been approved by the Governor: first, because this is an advisory board to the Governor and is protected until he decides on the issues brought to him; second, because the information may be proprietary to the contractor; and third, because the information may be essential to the RFP and protected by state law.

In the ninth meeting on July 29, 2008, the board was briefed by the RFP working group that the schedule is complete and that hiring of a technically capable and experienced vendor to field the system is prepared. The RFP may be processed, complete with a monitor to provide oversight. The contractor briefed that the procurement plan was ready to be implemented and would be complete after six years. The Project Management Plan reflects that 146 of 148 tasks have been completed.

In the tenth and last meeting before re-focus on December 15, 2008, the board heard the report of General Gus Hargett, Jr., the Adjutant General, regarding the Governor's guidance after fiscal conditions changed the goals of the State. General Hargett and Director James Bassham reported that the Governor was asked to decide the appropriate course of action relative to WiCAB. The Governor determined that WiCAB's operations would be required to meet the practical conditions driven by significantly decreasing revenue.

Governor Bredesen advised General Hargett and Director Bassham to continue WiCAB under refocused state resources, to terminate the contract for a state-wide system or TnWIN and the associated consultant contract, cancel the plan to create a state communications office, and use existing opportunities to enhance communications, such as federal grants, training and joint exercises.

The WiCAB also transitioned from Chris King to Louis Friedmann as State Interoperability Communications Coordinator. The principal reason for the change is due to Mr. Friedmann being named as TEMA's Director of Operations & Communications.

Mr. Friedmann briefed the Communications Assets Survey and Mapping Tool, the Public Safety Interoperability Communications (PIC) grants and the Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program (IECGP).

The WiCAB charter was changed by the board to eliminate language about consultants, vendors or employees for implementing a statewide communications system, deleted financial plans, projections or expenditure of funds for a statewide communications system and eliminated the radio systems coordinator and communications consultant project manager. The charter was changed to focus the board on guiding, planning, designing, developing, implementing and maintaining a Statewide public safety wireless interoperable communications system, to allow the board to continue to approve communications projects and set priorities, to establish a forum for synergy and sharing, to identify communications issues to solve contentious and joint challenges, to propose policy, establish convergence of plans and to recommend training and integration of systems into response and support scenarios. The by-laws were changed to delete all committees, except the executive committee (standing) was created and the Tennessee Wireless Interoperable Communications Council (TWICC) was created as an official sub-element of the board. The user committee was also retained as a standing committee. The charter also added the position of state interoperable communications coordinator to review projects and actions, validate purchases and acquisitions, inspect programs, plan budgets and review execution and contractor performance. The position further would provide concepts and innovations to the board to advance information sharing.