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December 31, 2009

License Offices Awarded in Carthage and Farmington

JEFFERSON CITY - A reformed competitive bidding process has been used to select the winning proposals for two more local motor vehicle license offices.

"In the past, license offices were largely given to political cronies," said Gov. Jay Nixon.  "One of my first actions as Governor was to make the process open to any interested person or group, and the offices are now awarded to those who put forward the best proposals for the offices' customers."

The two offices awarded today are in Carthage and Farmington.  Both offices will remain at their current locations.

Bidders have the option of returning a portion of an office's revenues to the state.  The winning bidder for both offices has opted to return some of its revenues.  The estimated amount of money that will be returned to the state in the first contract year from the 169 offices that have been awarded so far under the new bidding process is $886,325.

The Carthage License Office has been awarded to a new agent, Alternative Opportunities, Inc. of Springfield. The not-for-profit corporation provides a variety of comprehensive services, including job placement and assistance for people with disabilities.  The corporation's winning bid was one of three submitted, and a 5 percent ($11,102) return to state was included in the proposal.  The incumbent agent, John Putnam, did not bid.  The office is located at 407 S. Garrison Ave.

Alternative Opportunities, Inc. has also been selected as the new agent for the Farmington License Office, which is located at 103 Walker Dr.  The corporation's bid was one of four submitted, and a 5 percent ($11,093) return to the state was included.  The incumbent agent, Tom Burcham, did not bid.

Details about 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 this past summer. The new law was overwhelmingly approved by both Republican and Democratic members of the Missouri Legislature.

Of the 169 offices awarded so far, 97 have gone to incumbents, groups associated with incumbent agents or interim agents.  Seventy-two of the offices have been awarded to new agents.  There are 183 offices statewide.

Alana M. Barragán-Scott, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, noted how the selection process works.

"Bidders are given five weeks to deliver detailed responses to the Requests for Proposals from the Office of Administration," she said.  "Professional staff members from the Department of Revenue then review all of the bids and use a scoring process to choose the best bid in terms of experience, financial stability, customer service, office location and the return to state.  Once a winner is chosen, the Office of Administration reviews all of the paperwork and notifies the winning bidders."

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.


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