MNLARS debacle illustrates the need for reform
Nov. 17, 2017
by Ivan Raconteur

Implementation of the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) is a prime example of how not to make a change that affects a large number of people.

Four months after the system was launched, residents, businesses, and the deputy registrars across the state who have to work with it are still dealing with the problems it has created.

This week, Governor Mark Dayton apologized for the problems.

The Star Tribune reported that under intense questioning from senators, Minnesota IT Services Commissioner Thomas Baden said he was “disappointed” about the rollout and its lingering effects, particularly on the 174 deputy registrars who operate licensing centers around the state.

I would hope so. It’s good to hear that a debacle of this magnitude is not considered acceptable by those in charge.

Since the system was launched, people have been left waiting for vehicle titles, or waited weeks to receive new tabs. It has been reported that others have been unable to transfer specialty plates to newly purchased cars, including handicapped plates for people with disabilities.

The front line employees in deputy registrar offices across the state have borne the brunt of consumer frustration over problems with the system and long wait times.

It has also been reported that some of these offices have expended a significant amount of overtime dealing with the issues.

The Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee conducted an oversight hearing on the troubled rollout of MNLARS this week.

Senator Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) stated after the hearing that he and his fellow legislators will continue to insist this problem be dealt with in a timely and satisfactory manner.

That would be the best outcome we could expect out of this bad situation.

Once again, we have a case in which government forked over tens of millions of dollars for a system that doesn’t work from the beginning, and then taxpayers are left holding the bag, paying more for patches and fixes for what is still a sub-par system.

It’s time someone is held accountable for this kind of irresponsible misuse of public resources that penalize taxpayers and consumers for poor decisions on the part of government.

If the MNLARS fiasco leads to reforms and better practices in the future, there will at least be some positive outcome to a big ugly mess.

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