Lawmakers look for answers after MNLARS audit

February 14, 2019 10:32 PM

For more than two hours Thursday afternoon, clearly frustrated lawmakers questioned state auditors about what went wrong during the troubled 2017 rollout of the state's new driver's license and vehicle registration system.

The Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) has been beset with troubles.

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RELATED: Report blames 2 state agencies for botched MNLARS launch

But a report by Minnesota's legislative auditor said the state had enough money and time to roll out MNLARS the right way and failed to do so.

That, in turn, has cost the state more than $100 million and has meant delays in titles, license tabs and registration renewals for thousands of Minnesotans.

"Mistakes were made everywhere," said Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul.

The auditor's report blamed leaders at the Department of Public Safety and Minnesota Information Technology Services, citing a lack of oversight and testing prior to the launch. 

"This was a shared project between a state agency with business needs, the Department of Public Safety, and an agency with technical expertise, MNIT, both of these agencies share the blame," Joel Alter, the official who oversaw the MNLARS audit, told lawmakers.

The report also highlights inconsistencies in the coding and problems with Hewlett Packard, the company hired to build MNLARS before the state ended the contract and took over.

New leadership at both the DPS and MNIT said there are now more stakeholders overseeing the system.

"Since that time, MNIT and the DPS have completely overhauled the way MNLARS gets work done," Acting MNIT Commissioner Bill Poirier said.

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