Friday, December 12, 2008

Nixon Wants "Complete Overhaul" Of Fee Offices

Governor-elect Jay Nixon proposes to end the system of "political patronage" and bid out every license fee office contract based on a point system that will be administered by the Department of Revenue.
Nixon also proposes to move "as much of the process online as possible." Says Arizona handles 45% of every eligible transaction online, compared to Missouri, which does just .5% on the Internet


Nixon's goal: To not only limit the the influence that partisan politics has on the fee office process, but increase efficiency and boost service. Many of fees drivers pay at the offices go directly back into the pockets of the operators, who often are campaign contributors or well-connected politically with the current administration.
Claims 95% of Gov. Blunt's offices were not bid out competitively

Aims to start a rolling process the day of his inauguration that will address about 6 offices a week, dealing with the most heavily populated areas first.

How To Earn An Office:
Bidders will be scored on a point scale based on sales, service, efficiency, past performance and experience. Civic and non-profit organizations will also earn special points, as will minority women, and those who agree to give part of their profits back to the state. An evaluation team will go through each application and report recommendations to the Director of Revenue.

Won't Shut Down Offices Jan. 12th
"A significant gap in service would not be fair," said Gov.-elect Nixon, responding to a question about whether he would immediately void previous existing contracts under the Blunt administration. Added that the possibility of some contractors walking off the job on January 12th is "certainly a concern," and something his office has talked about how to address. Didn't elaborate on how.

"Not Interested" In Increasing Fees
"I don't think we need to increase fees," said Gov.-elect Nixon, noting that he expects this new plan will increase efficiency and save the state money. He said under his plan, "there's no reason to raise fees."

Online Portion Run By State
Nixon said that the online portion of the license offices would most likely be run by the state because of its access to state Internet technology. Contracting those online enhancements out, could be a "heavy lift," Nixon said. Promised more details later on how an online system would specifically work.

Campaign Contributors Still Eligible For Offices
Nixon stressed his process would be "open bid for every contract," and said campaign contributions to his election effort would not be part of the evaluation. But added: "I'm not looking places to exclude . . . Just because you gave $25 to my campaign and came to a rally in Winona, shouldn't exclude them."

Process Will Take Several Months
Nixon said it will take "a good number of months" to get through the bidding process for all of the state's license offices. Estimates it could take between 5 and 7 weeks to obtain a bid.

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