DMV Commissioner responds to contract dispute

Posted at: 11/14/2012 6:21 PM
Updated at: 11/15/2012 2:35 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

SARATOGA SPRINGS - "How can you justify this expense for taxpayers?"

DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala said little in response to our questions, about a proposed contract for a Canadian company that could cost taxpayers $38 million more than they are paying now. CBN Secure Technology was also the highest bidder.

"We will be releasing a statement at the appropriate time," Fiala said.

NewsChannel 13 caught up with Fiala as she arrived to address a meeting of country clerks from across the state.

"We're always nickel and dime looking for as much money to bring back to our residents and yet they're willing to go out and spend an additional $38 million. It really makes no sense at all," Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola said.

Merola also doesn't like the black and white photos in the drivers licenses that CBN makes, like the ones for the state of Virginia.

Neither do the two other companies that lost the bidding process, De La Rue and MorphoTrustUSA. They filed a legal complaint saying the black and white cards aren't as secure and the bidding process wasn't fair.

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is reviewing the contract to make sure the final deal complies with the law and that New Yorkers get the best value for their tax dollars.

We asked Commissioner Fiala if the bidders and taxpayers are getting a square deal, but she said the answers will come down the road. She had no response when asked why the highest bidder, which is out of Canada, was chosen.

Fiala issued a statement several hours later, saying:

“The current contract for the production of driver license and non-driver documents expires in May, 2013. As required, DMV issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for companies capable of producing the documents after that date. Three companies responded to the RFP. Each of their parent organizations are based outside of the United States. No New York company submitted a proposal, however, the winning bidder is required to produce the license documents in New York.   Evaluation criteria were shared with all those submitting bids. The two losing bidders were not selected because their products were inferior with respect to document security and anti-tampering measures that are standard for licenses.  Since the driver license serves as a de facto national identification card, it is extremely important that the documents we provide the citizens of New York are the most secure and least able to be altered or counterfeited. We are confident that the vendor we have chosen will provide the best value for the citizens of New York."