Report blames 2 state agencies for botched MNLARS launch

February 14, 2019 10:13 PM

Minnesota's legislative auditor says two state agencies must share the blame for the troubled rollout in 2017 of a new driver's license and vehicle registration system.

A report released Thursday says the $100 million and nine years devoted to developing the Minnesota's Licensing and Registration System, or MNLARS, should have been sufficient to successfully complete the project. It blames leaders at the Department of Public Safety and Office of Minnesota Information Technology Services.


However, the report states many factors, not just a single person or decision, contributed to the botched launch.

MNLARS has been plagued with problems since its rollout in 2017.

"A lot of things didn't go well," Judy Randall of the Office of Legislative Auditor testified at a hearing late Thursday.  "It wasn't just one thing, it was a lot of things."

RELATED: Legislative Auditor's 'special review' of MNLARS project due Thursday

System outages and slowdowns are among the issues MNLARS has faced since its launch.

MNIT and the DPS have been working together to fix problems and address concerns.

Joel Alter, the auditor who oversaw the MNLARS audit, said both agencies were plagued by a lack of leadership on the project.

"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," Alter told lawmakers.

Department of Motor Vehicle officials said they are still working within a 120-day window for drivers' licenses. However, they also reported they are running out of money to fix the system.

Last month, a routine MNLARS meeting became heated after the legislative auditor himself stepped up to testify. Jim Nobles, the Minnesota Legislative Auditor, said it was the first time in 35 years he had to subpoena a state agency to get information.

"I saw information about a potential data breach," Nobles said. "I was not given that information and I ended up sending a subpoena to the department."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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