A Step in the Right Direction
Missourinet has a story about how the General Assembly may soon end the fee office patronage in Missouri (link via Combest). The state’s fee offices tend to be run by people who have given to or helped certain politicians — usually the governor, state representatives, or state senators — during the last election. Their contributions are rewarded with a Department of Revenue contract. These are the same offices that you have to go to, in order to get your license(s) and license plates.
This seems to be a great step in the right direction, which started today with competitive bidding on 6 of Missouri’s 183 fee offices. So, now instead of officials giving the offices away through political patronage, there will be a system of points for five different categories. Requiring bidders to offer the best quality at the lowest cost for a service that everyone has to use is a great thing. I hope that the practical execution of this legislation turns out well as the initial idea.
On a personal note I know several people who were recipients of fee office contracts, and they are all very good people. I heard from several of them after the election, and a few of them said, without prompt, that if they lost their fee office they would not be all that disappointed. They were able to articulate how much hassle the offices really are, and that all the negatives we experience (long lines, computer crashes, outdated software, etc.) are just as much of a negative for them — being the subject of so much hate is never fun. So, hopefully, the bid process will allow those who genuinely want to run the office to continue to do so, and for those that don’t — enjoy less hassle in your life.