September 24, 2009
Reformed License Office Bidding Process Reaches Numerical and Financial Milestones
Agents Named for Charleston, Eminence, Kingston, Licking, Mound City, New Madrid & Rock Port Offices
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon's reformed system of awarding state license offices has reached two milestones.
With the announcement of management contracts for seven more local motor vehicle/license offices, more than half (94) of the state's 183 offices have been awarded under the new system. In addition, the annual amount of money that the reformed process will return to the state has surpassed half a million dollars.
"When I took office in January, one of the first actions I took was to implement long-needed reforms in the way that license offices were awarded," Gov. Nixon said. "In the past, political patronage was the main reason certain people got an office. Now, we have a transparent system that embraces open competition and puts an emphasis on office efficiency and improved customer service."
In addition to the reformed competitive nature of the new system, bidders also have the option of returning some of a license office's revenues to the state. The cumulative amount of estimated funds that will be returned to the state in the first contract year from the 94 license offices that have been awarded so far is $521,962.
"Since many office agents will make money from the providing of state services, it's only fair that bidders have the option of returning some of the profits so that important state services can be funded," Gov. Nixon said. "For some of the smaller offices, returning money to the state may not be a realistic option. However, many of the offices have bid to return some of their revenues, and this new bidding process has resulted in fiscal efficiencies for the state that were never dreamed of in past administrations."
The seven offices awarded this week are in Charleston, Eminence, Kingston, Licking, Mound City, New Madrid and Rock Port.
The Charleston Chamber of Commerce is the new agent for the Charleston License Office. The chamber's bid was chosen from three that were submitted. The office will stay at its present location of 104 E. Tom White St. As part of its bid, the chamber will return 7 percent ($5,155) of the office's estimated first-year revenues to the state.
The Eminence License Office has been awarded to Turner Insurance of Eminence. Turner Insurance is run by Brandon and Michelle Turner, who have been the manager and agent, respectively, of the office since 2005. Turner Insurance submitted the only bid for the office. The location of the office will stay the same - 116 N. Main St. The office will return 3 percent ($1,121) of its first-year revenues.
Lisa M. Prater of Hamilton, doing business as Kingston License Office, will continue to be the agent of the Kingston License Office. Prater was the only person to submit a bid, and she has been the office agent since 2005. The office will remain at 49 E. Main St., and it will annually return one-twelfth of 1 percent ($51) to the state.
The Licking License Office will continue to be run by Alicia J. Swindell of Licking. Swindell has operated the office since 2005. The office attracted one bid, and it will stay at its current location of 104 E. Highway 32. No return to the state was included in the bid.
Joseph Laukemper of Mound City will remain as the agent of the Mound City License Office. Laukemper submitted the only bid for the office, which he has run since 2005. The office will stay at 302 Nebraska St. No return to the state was included in the bid.
Rose Mary Williams of New Madrid has been awarded the agent contract for the New Madrid License Office. Williams, who has been the office agent since 2005, was one of two bidders for the office. The office will remain at its current location of 450 Main St. The office will return 2 percent ($1,253) of its annual revenues to the state.
The Rock Port License Office has been awarded to Midwest Data Center, Inc. of Rock Port, which submitted the only bid. The corporation, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Rock Port Telephone Co., is associated with the incumbent agent, Raymond Henagan. Henagan was appointed as the agent in 2008. The office will remain at 214 S. Main St., and it will return one-half of 1 percent ($199) of its annual revenues to the state.
Details about any changes in office operations, if any, will be announced by the agents.
Although Gov. Nixon authorized the Missouri Department of Revenue to implement the new bidding system in January, it didn't become part of state law until legislation was signed by the Governor earlier this summer. The new law was overwhelmingly approved by both Republican and Democratic members of the Missouri Legislature.
Of the 94 offices awarded, 50 have gone to incumbents or been awarded to family members of incumbent agents. Forty-four of the offices have been awarded to new agents. Of the 183 total offices, bidding has closed on 176, and seven remain open for bidding. For a list of winning bidders for license offices, please go to http://oa.mo.gov/purch/awardedfeeoffices.pdf.
Alana M. Barragán-Scott, acting director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, noted the success of the new bidding process.
"More than half of the offices have been awarded, and all of the department employees working on this project have done a fantastic job," she said. "I truly believe that this new competitive system is the best way to award these offices, and the people of Missouri will be the ultimate winners because of the improved customer service and increased financial efficiencies."
All local license offices provide services that are overseen by the Department of Revenue, but each office is operated by an independent contractor. Transactions that are conducted at these offices include the issuance and renewal of driver licenses, issuance of titles for motor vehicles, and the issuance and renewal of registration for motor vehicles, boats and outboard motors.
Additional information on the bids will be posted by the Missouri Office of Administration within the next few days.