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October 15, 2009

Bonne Terre, Ellington, Kennett, Memphis, Stanberry & Thayer License Office Contracts Awarded

JEFFERSON CITY - A reformed competitive bidding process implemented by Gov. Jay Nixon and supported by legislators from both political parties has been used to award management contracts for six more local license offices.

"In the past, many license offices were awarded solely to those who had political connections, and there were no standards for customer service or financial efficiency," Gov. Nixon said.  "Under this open and transparent system, anyone can bid to run an office.  This is a big improvement compared to the old, secretive political process that was ingrained in state government for far too long."

The six offices awarded today are in Bonne Terre, Ellington, Kennett, Memphis, Stanberry and Thayer. All of the offices will remain at their current locations.  Bidders also have the option of returning a portion of the office's revenues to the state.  Two of this week's winning bidders will return some of their revenues to the state.  The cumulative amount of funds that will be returned to the state in the first contract year from the 113 offices that have been awarded so far under the new bidding process is $595,894.

The Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce is the new agent for the Bonne Terre License Office, which is at 522-A Benham St.  The chamber's winning proposal was one of two bids for the office. As part of its bid, the chamber will return 4 percent ($5,370) of the office's estimated first-year revenues to the state.

The Ellington License Office has been awarded to Rebecca D. Rhea of Ellington.  Rhea, who submitted the only bid, has been the agent since 2003.  No return to the state was included in the bid.  The office is located at 105 N. Main St. 

Patricia L. Riggs of Kennett, doing business as License Office of Kennett, Inc., will continue to be the agent for the Kennett License Office.  She has held this position since 2005.  Riggs' bid was chosen from three that were submitted.  The office is located at 103 S. Main St., and a 7.5 percent ($9,259) return to the state was included in the bid.

The Memphis License Office, located on Highway 15 near Highway 136, has been awarded to Lisa Grubb of Memphis.  She has been the office agent since 2008, and her bid was the only one submitted.  A return to the state was not included in the bid.

The Stanberry License Office will continue to be operated by the City of Stanberry, which has run the office since 2000.  The city's bid was the only one offered, and a return to the state was not included in the bid.  The office is located in City Hall at 130 W. First St.

Ranette Ray of Koshkonong has been selected to be the agent for the Thayer License Office.  Ray has been the agent for the office, which is located at 151 E. Walnut St., since 2006.  No return to the state was included in the bid, which was the only one submitted.

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

Of the 113 offices awarded so far, 64 have gone to incumbents or been awarded to family members or groups associated with incumbent agents.  Forty-nine of the offices have been awarded to new agents.  Of the 183 total offices, bidding has closed on 181, and two remain open.  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 what criteria are evaluated by the department when office bids are considered.

"The evaluation teams look for detailed responses on how potential agents will improve customer service, especially during periods when the office is busy," she said.  "The teams also rate the education and experience of a potential agent and the staff, and the accessibility and security of the office is also judged.  Finally, the teams note whether a bidder is a not-for-profit group, a minority- or woman-owned business and whether a return to the state is included in the bid."      

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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