December 10, 2009
Management Contracts for 10 Local License Offices Will Be Re-Bid
JEFFERSON CITY - Ten local motor vehicle and license offices will have their management contracts re-bid after the winning bidder was determined to have submitted incomplete information in its bids.
The Office of Administration is intending to issue new Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the offices by the end of the month, and five weeks will be given to potential bidders after the RFPs are issued. The offices will remain under current management during the re-bidding process.
The offices in question were originally awarded to Alternative Opportunities, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation based in Springfield. The first contract awarded to Alternative Opportunities went into effect in April and the most recent ones were effective as of September.
The 10 license offices are in Ava, Camdenton, Creve Coeur, Joplin, Nevada, Olivette, Poplar Bluff, Republic, and the South Fremont Avenue and Landers State Office Building locations in Springfield.
The incomplete information submitted to the state involved the office's proposed contract manager. The RFPs that bidders followed for guidance stated that winning bidders could not use subcontractors to provide the main services of the office. The proposed contract manager, although associated with Alternative Opportunities for many years, was being paid by WD Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Providence Service Corp.
Alana M. Barragán-Scott, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, noted how the Office of Administration and Department of Revenue dealt with the issue.
"The two departments were made aware of the contract manager's status after the bids had been awarded," she said. "After studying the issue, we determined that re-bidding the offices was the right thing to do. Some may be disappointed with the decision, but it was made only after considering the state's standard bidding procedures.
"It's also important to remember that citizens should not notice any change in office operations," she continued. "There should be no disruption in service during the re-bidding process."
Barragán-Scott also noted that the openness of the bidding system is one reason the issue came to light and it shows that the system is working well.
"I was pleased that this information about the contract manager issue was sent to the state so that we could act on it," she said. "Before the bidding system was reformed, license offices were handed out by governors of both political parties to whomever they wanted and with no accountability at all. Now, an open bidding process is used to pick the best bid, and if a problem arises, it can be dealt with in a fair way."
As of early Thursday, 154 of the 183 license offices had been awarded under the competitive bidding system. Eighty-nine have gone to incumbent agents or groups associated with the incumbents, and 65 have been awarded to new agents. There are still 29 offices where the bidding has closed but the offices have not yet been awarded. Counting the offices mentioned in today's announcement, 12 of the offices can still be bid on by potential office operators. Besides the 10 Alternative Opportunities offices, the Greenfield License Office is up for bid until Dec. 17, and the Linn License Office is up for bid until Jan. 7 because of a retiring agent. Additional information regarding the bidding process can be obtained at http://oa.mo.gov/purch/vendorinfo/DORoffices.pdf or by calling the Office of Administration at (573) 751-2387.