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July 23, 2009

Agents Named for Cassville, Chillicothe, Grandview, Joplin & St. Joseph License Offices

JEFFERSON CITY – Five more local motor vehicle/license offices were awarded today by the Missouri Department of Revenue as part of a competitive bidding process that has been supported by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The offices awarded today are in Cassville, Chillicothe, Grandview, Joplin and St. Joseph.  This brings to 43 the total number of offices granted under the new system.

The Cassville License Office has been awarded to Rebecca Rae Brown of Cassville.  She has been the contract office agent in Cassville since 1981. The office will remain at 700 Main St., Suite 1.

Kathryn Diane Harlow of Chillicothe has been awarded the right to operate the license office in Chillicothe.  She is the incumbent agent, serving in that capacity since 2005.  The office will remain at 33 S. Washington St.

The Grandview License Office has been awarded to the City of Grandview. The city has run the license office since 1981, and the office will stay at its current location of 1200 Main St. (City Hall).

Alternative Opportunities, Inc. of Springfield has been named as the new agent for the Joplin License Office.  The office will remain at 1110 E. Seventh St., Suite 6.

St. Joseph License, LLC is the new agent for the St. Joseph License Office.  The company is associated with James Montee of St. Joseph.  The office will move to a new location of 2319 N. Belt Highway.

Details about any changes in office operations, if any, will be announced by the agents.

The five offices awarded today are the latest to have their management chosen using a comprehensive bidding process that was implemented when Gov. Nixon took office on Jan. 12.  The process calls for people or groups to submit detailed bids to obtain the management contracts to operate the offices.  The Cassville and Chillicothe license offices both received one bid, Grandview received two bids, and Joplin and St. Joseph both received four bids.

This new process was codified in state law when Gov. Nixon signed legislation on July 1 that made the new system a permanent part of state law.  The bill endorsing the change passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities in the Missouri Senate and House.

“This new process is open, honest and transparent,” Gov. Nixon said.  “Management contracts used to be given away to people just because of the political party they belonged to.  Now, individuals and groups compete to make the best offer.  Republicans, Democrats and independents agree that this new process is a vast improvement over the old patronage system.”

Alana M. Barragán-Scott, acting director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, noted that the competition for license offices will result in many additional benefits.

“For the first time, current office agents and new bidders will have incentives to provide improved services at the license offices,” she said.  “When people want to get a driver license or renew their license plates, they don’t care about the political affiliation of the person behind the counter, and the new system reflects that.  Efficient office operations and better customer service are now the key measures of success for local license offices.”

Some winning bidders have chosen to return part of their estimated office revenues to the state.  The Cassville License Office will return 1 percent ($1,431) of its first-revenues, Joplin will return 5 percent ($25,919), and St. Joseph will return 10 percent ($44,005) to the state.  The Chillicothe and Grandview bids did not include a return to the state.  The cumulative amount of estimated funds that will be returned to the state in the first contract year from the 43 license offices that have been awarded so far is $332,698.

“The willingness of agents to return some of their revenues is a great cost-efficiency measure for the state, and the amount returned to the state will undoubtedly grow as more bids are awarded,” Barragán-Scott said.  “This money will be able to be used for a variety of vital state services.”

Of the 183 license offices, 43 have been awarded and the bidding time has closed for another 86.  For a list of winning bidders for license offices, please go to http://oa.mo.gov/purch/awardedfeeoffices.pdf.

All local license offices provide services that are overseen by the Missouri 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, applying for titles for motor vehicles, and the issuance and renewal of registration for motor vehicles, boats and outboard motors.

Additional information on the bids will be posted by the Missouri Office of Administration within the next few days.