Lawmakers, MNIT Officials to Meet, Discuss Oversight Concerns

April 10, 2018 06:11 AM

Tuesday at the state capitol, those overseeing the rocky rollout of Minnesota's licensing and registration system will be in the hot seat answering to lawmakers about oversight failures.

The group will also discuss a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS report regarding concerns surrounding a $2.5 million remodel of MNIT office space.


RELATED: State IT Dept's Spending Raises Lawmaker Eyebrows in Light of MNLARS Issues

The joint committee hearing Tuesday will focus on that remodel and what Minnesota's IT services department knew before the flawed MNLARS rollout.

Those developments were revealed just days apart last week.

A week ago, some lawmakers said they were appalled to learn MNIT opted to revamp its offices this past fall when the MNLARS issues started surfacing. A reported $2.5 million was spent to make more space for workers.

Agency officials said the renovation used funds that couldn't be used for MNLARS and that the move would eventually save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in leasing costs.

A few days later, an outside investigator found that former MNIT official, Paul Meekin, actually knew about some of the MNLARS issues before its rocky rollout.

RELATED: Report: Official Knew of Vehicle Licensing System Problems

It's a rollout that initially cost $93 million, plus $10 million in emergency funding.

The investigator found that Meekin didn't provide meaningful oversight and didn't fulfill pre-launch testing expectations.

Meekin was fired last month, but some state lawmakers say more action to address oversight is required.

RELATED: Official Who Led State's Troubled Licensing System is Fired

"It is time to dig into what's happening there and maybe do some restructuring of their agency rather than letting them restructure cubicles," Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) said.

MNIT officials will face questions from not one, but two senate committees at Tuesday's hearing. The first hearing starts at 1 p.m. at the capitol.


Tyler Berg & Rebecca Omastiak

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