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November 12, 2009

Management Contracts Awarded to Agents for Houston, Independence, Kahoka and Viburnum License Offices

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 four more local license offices.

"The new system allows any interested person or group an opportunity to bid for a local license office," Gov. Nixon said.  "Professional staff at the Department of Revenue then reviews the bids, and the bid that is the most financially efficient and promises the best customer service wins.  This reformed process is more open than the old system, and it will result in better services for the people who need to get driver licenses and license plates."

The four offices awarded today are in Houston, Independence, Kahoka and Viburnum. All of the offices will remain at their current locations, except in Houston.

Bidders 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.  The estimated amount of money that will be returned to the state in the first contract year from the 138 offices that have been awarded so far under the new bidding process is $769,707.

The Houston License Office has been awarded to a new agent, Cynthia L. Blades of West Plains.  Blades has been an employee of the West Plains License Office since 2007, and her winning bid was one of three submitted.  The office will be re-located from its current address of 122 W. Walnut St. to the Houston Plaza at 1591 N. Highway 63, Suite B.  A one-half of 1 percent ($333) return to the state was included in the bid. 

A new agent, the Paul J. Wrabec Company, Inc., has been awarded the management contract for the Independence License Office.  The winning bid was one of seven that were submitted.  The company is a real estate investment and development firm founded in 1978, and it was awarded the Sugar Creek License Office in June.  The Independence office is located at 16643 E. 23rd St., and a 3.5 percent ($15,753) first-year return to the state was included in the bid.

The Kahoka License Office, located at 178 W. Main St., Suite 1, has been awarded to the incumbent agent, L. Sue Scott of Kahoka.  She has been the office agent since 2005.  The winning bid was one of two submitted, and no return to the state was included in the bid.

The Mayfield Group, LLC has been named as the agent for the Viburnum License Office.  The company is associated with the incumbent agent, Lance Mayfield, who has been the office agent since 1995.  Mayfield submitted the only bid.  The office is at #2 Viburnum Center, and no return to the state was included in the bid.

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 138 offices awarded so far, 77 have gone to incumbents or been awarded to relatives or groups associated with incumbent agents.  Sixty-one 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, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, noted what criteria are evaluated by the department when office bids are considered. 

"The department evaluates each bid carefully, even if there is just one bid for an office," she said.  "But no matter how many bids there are, the department looks for measures to improve customer service, the experience of a potential agent, and whether the office location is a secure and accessible one."  

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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