City experiences phone woes

Published 10:49 am Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Over the past few weeks, the city of Franklin administration and staff have had days where they wonder, ‘Why isn’t my phone ringing?’

City Manager Randy Martin discovered this when he had asked someone to call him at a specific time at the office. Shortly after not receiving the call, the person dialed him on his cell phone.

“That person told me that they had called the office, and that I didn’t answer,” Martin said, adding that he had been in his office, and it didn’t ring. “It didn’t allow them to leave a message.”

Martin said the system had been allowing him to call out as it normally does, and that the system connected fine between the network. It is only when people try to call in from the outside that the problems occur.

“We could call out, so we didn’t realize that there was a problem, except that the phone wasn’t ringing, which is unusual,” Martin said. “We’re told that this is a really unusual circumstance by the system’s contractors.”

The switchboard has also been a problem, said Martin.

“In community development, we ended up with a situation where the calls were routed, but that they would end up at a dead end,” he said. “When they tried to go back to the main menu, it would drop the call.”

Martin said this does not affect the 911 Emergency Services network, as that’s on a different system.

The city isn’t sure what the problem is. They’ve had people come to fix it, but the system is so old that they don’t make replacement parts for it anymore. So the fixes have been temporary, in that the system will work as normal for a few days, but then the problem will come back.

“We’ve not been able to identify a root cause,” Martin said. “That’s why we are concerned that it is a system failure due to the age of the system. That concerns us more than having a problem where it breaks, but we know why and are able to fix it.”

Martin said they are reviewing options to upgrade the phone system, which is more than 12 years old. He hopes to have options, including prices, by City Council’s next meeting on Monday, Feb. 23.

In the meantime, if you aren’t able to connect with the city via telephone, Martin said to be patient.

“I apologize to the citizens for this,” he said. “We’re working on it and trying to find a solution.”