By JACK WEATHERLY
C Spire’s contract to provide services to the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services has been upheld by Hinds County Chancery Court Judge Denise Owens.
The ruling is the second victory for C Spire in seeking to compete for the contract to provide voice, data and other services to all Mississippi state agencies.
The ruling will save Mississippi taxpayers $32.8 million, according to the ruling.
Additionally, the ruling will save the state millions of dollars because “C Spire’s Centrex system uses the customer’s existing analog phones and lines,” the ruling states.
The state Supreme Court in March 2017 overturned Hinds County Chancery Court Judge William Singletary’s 2006 decision to seal the AT&T contract. It sent the case back to the lower court.
At issue was whether the Legislature in 2015 made the contract subject to the state Public Records Act.
The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of C Spire.
The ruling by Owens notes that “C Spire’s total proposal for both voice and data is $32.8 million less than AT&T’s” for the eight-year contract.
Hu Meena, chief executive officer of C Spire said last year regarding the court case that “for years, Mississippi’s citizens have paid more than they should for services that are just plain inadequate.”
Efforts to reach Mayo Flynt, president of AT&T in Mississippi, as to whether the case would be appealed back to the Supreme Court were unsuccessful.
If AT&T does, C Spire “is confident the Mississippi Supreme Court will again affirm [Mississippi Department of Information Technology]’s decision,” consultant Liz Whelan said in an email.
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