Congressman Kenny Hulshof, a candidate for Governor, said he would end Missouri's license fee office patronage system that awards the offices to political supporters.
The system has been used by Governors in both parties for decades, and Hulshof's proposal is similar to other previous reforms proposed by former Republican State Representative Mark Wright and Democratic State Senate candidate Doug Harpool. Gov. Matt Blunt has defended the merits of the current system.
In a press release, Hulshof's campaign said the new system would be "a new, transparent system that focuses on customer service, performance and accountability." This is the first specific policy proposal Hulshof has initiated since he launched his campaign. It's clearly aimed at burnishing his independent-minded and reformist credentials with voters.
“These offices should be awarded in the same manner as every other government contract – in an open and objective way,” Hulshof said. “Customer service should be the top consideration when determining who runs these offices, not who offers the most political support," he added.
Under his proposal, Hulshof would require that every fee office be open for bid. An objective points system to rate each bid would be established by the Department of Revenue and Office of Administration. Points would be based upon charitable considerations, customer service initiatives, past performance where appropriate, and personnel qualifications. Existing fee office agents would be welcome to submit a proposal to continue operation of their office. Charities and minority-owned businesses would be encouraged to submit proposals.
“Instead of looking at contribution reports, we would look at performance and business plans when awarding these offices,” Hulshof said. “An open, competitive bid system will result in better customer service, taxpayer savings and more confidence in the system.”