IESA Begins Fight on Town-Wide Fire Alarm Monitoring
Facing what it calls a ‘revenue grab by communities,’ the IESA is planning to do battle with the Village of Schaumburg, Ill., which plans to monitor all fire alarm systems in the village.
The Illinois Electronic Security Association (IESA) finds itself fighting yet another legislative battle in the monitoring arena and needs the help of every security dealer.
In late August, the village of Schaumburg, Ill., population of approximately 75,000, passed ordinance 16-078 that deems a government entity — Northwest Central Dispatch System — as the only provider of commercial fire-alarm system monitoring in the community. State-licensed private alarm contractors must surrender their customers to Northwest Central Dispatch System once their contracts expire and all new installation must go directly to the 911 center for monitoring, according to the IESA.
“This type ordinance is anti-competitive, dangerous, and that has been declared illegal by a federal court,” stated Kevin Lehan, executive director of IESA.
Lehan says it is virtually the same ordinance that is being litigated in federal court now, specifically Alarm Detection Systems Inc. v. Bloomingdale Fire Protection District et al. http://bit.ly/2eyCh9E.
“As it stands, they are litigating claims for violation of the federal Civil Rights Act and antitrust claims under the Sherman Act,” he said. In addition, there is recent precedent that favors the private alarm industry in the Lisle-Woodridge, Ill., case. (See http://bit.ly/2eL6QFs.)
Several of the arguments put forth by the IESA regarding Schaumburg’s actions are:
This ordinance is not about public safety. This legislation is designed to allow government entities to monopolize alarm monitoring and arbitrarily exclude viable technologies in direct opposition of the national fire codes.
This ordinance takes away small business jobs. Instead of 20 small businesses competing in a market, the government claims the monitoring revenue, which is a significant percentage of income for alarm dealers. As such, many businesses will close (loss of tax base) and private sector jobs will be lost.
This ordinance strips small businesses of revenue and value. Alarm monitoring contracts are the most valuable asset a small or large alarm company has. Confiscating 100 accounts can cripple the ability of an alarm company to borrow money and maintain employment levels.
“Not only is it a reckless decision to ‘create a municipal monopoly’ in the face of those facts, it’s a terrible decision for Schaumburg’s business community that will not have the ability to keep their current service provider, use advanced technologies or shop for the best price,” Lehan expressed.
Schaumburg is home to nearly 5,000 businesses that employ over 75,000 people, according to the village’s website, and the village’s housing units number more than 33,000.
“The primary motivation of the proposed bill is to take over an area of private business that took more than a hundred years for private industry to build. It is a revenue grab by communities. It does not, however, improve response time or increase firefighter safety. As such, the ordinance should be overturned,” Lehan said.
Lehan asks that security professionals, “whether you are Illinois-based or not, an alarm contractor or product/service provider, or even a company/individual who supports the free market,” let the IESA know if it has your support in its opposition to Schaumburg’s ordinance. Contact Kevin Lehan by emailing ExecDirector@IESA.net and state that IESA has your support and provide your name, company, title and Illinois alarm contractor license number, if applicable.
For more information, visit www.IESA.net/badlaw.
You may read the full text of the ordinance here: http://bit.ly/2eoCGdY.
SDM Welcomes Meg Psiharis
In September, SDM welcomed a new addition to the editorial team. Assistant Editor Meg Psiharis writes and edits news-focused articles and SDM columns, including Technology Solutions & Skills and Digital Shuffle. Along with attending tradeshows and conferences, as well as posting to social media, Meg handles scheduling for tradeshows and assists in day-to-day tasks for the editorial team. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English Literature from Western Illinois University.