New report reveals what went wrong with MNLARS

The state's licensing and vehicle registration system has been beset by problems.
Author:
Publish date:

The Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor office has released a report into the failures that blighted the rollout of the licensing and vehicle registration system known as MNLARS.

The report says that more than $100 million of funding over nine years leading up to its 2017 release "should have been sufficient to successfully complete this project."

Instead, when it eventually went live in July 2017, customers were hit with delays in the processing of license tabs, registration renewals, and title applications.

By the start of December that year, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety had a backlog of around 380,000 title applications.

A year ago the DPS and Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) requested an extra $43 million to solve the problem from the Legislature, but instead got just under $10 million to work on fixes.

The problems "started early" in the process, namely when the state contracted Hewlett Packard to build the system only to scrap the contract in 2014 as managers were unsatisfied with the work. The auditor's report said the contract ended with the state having "little to show for several years of work."

Both the DPS and MNIT then tried to build the system in-house using a mixture of state and private employees, but leadership "did not take sufficient steps to ensure that this large and risky project would succeed."

Ultimately, DPS and MNIT were to blame for the system's failures for a number of reasons, including failing to provide adequate oversight of the project, making decisions about the system's "scope and functionality" that were "not sufficiently transparent," and failing to include "some critical stakeholders" in the leadership process.

"Project officials did not enforce proper code development practices, and there was insufficient testing of the software," it also added.

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily newsletters

'Troubling ... but not surprising'

The report also refers to a couple of staffers by name, MNLARS managers Paul Meekin and Susan Rohde, who it says shoulder some of the blame for the failures during the attempt to complete the system in-house.

Staffers also said it was a mistake to keep to the 2017 timeline for a release date, given that they had only started working on the in-house version of the new system in 2015.

Senator Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), chair of the Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee, said Thursday: "I find the legislative audit to be troubling, frustrating, but not altogether surprising.

"From the beginning, the state of Minnesota was not equipped to handle a project of this scale and, even when confronted with that reality, state officials kept the project moving toward release.

"The audit makes clear where the problems lie: ineffective leadership and state agencies lacking the proper oversight, guidance, and technical ability for such a massive project."

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-07-30 at 10.55.37 AM

Bespoke office space for changing times, courtesy of Redbrick Commercial Real Estate

Redbrick Commercial Real Estate specializes in innovative and sustainable office spaces.

coronavirus, covid-19, icu

MN up to 45 counties with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission

Delta is leading to more cases – and more severe cases – involving children in other states.

Screen Shot 2021-05-23 at 9.08.48 AM

University of St. Thomas latest to require vaccines for students, staff

The college had previously offered incentives to get vaccinated, but is now mandating them.

Pixabay - crowd park outdoors CROP

New forecast predicts more than 4 million Twin Cities residents by 2050

The Met Council believes job opportunities will also steadily grow.

Mike Zimmer

Zimmer on unvaccinated players: 'Some of the things they've read are just, woof, out there'

The coach says he's doesn't understand why some players won't get vaccinated.

Ramsey County - Karina Her booking photo crop 2

Charges: St. Paul woman killed ex-husband, buried him in her back yard

A woman is accused of fatally shooting her ex-husband and burying him in the yard.

Screen Shot 2021-08-02 at 8.02.46 AM

Riverview Cafe in south Minneapolis closes, plans to 'reassess' its future

The cafe and wine bar was open in the Longfellow neighborhood for 23 years.

Pixabay - camp food fire

Bear sightings prompt food storage mandate up north

Visitors to the forest and BWCAW will be required to 'properly' store their food.

covid, vaccine

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, August 2

The delta variant has been leading to higher case counts and hospitalizations in Minnesota.

Bloomington Walmart

Customers reportedly flee after scare inside Bloomington Walmart

People ran believing it was gunshots, but police say it was actually fireworks.

Racket website screengrab aug 2

New alt news site from former City Pages editors launches this month

Racket will be supported through a reader subscription model.

Related

gov tim walz state of the state screengrab april 4 2019

New plan revealed for flawed MNLARS system: scrapping it

It's set to be replaced by a system developed by private vendors.

doctor, blood work, needle

What is Minnesota's provider tax and what happens if it goes away?

The tax is due to sunset, and Democrats want to keep it, but Republicans don't.

Design for Minnesota's new driver's licenses revealed

They'll be horizontal for most, but vertical for under 21s.

What's in Gov. Walz's $1.27B infrastructure plan?

The projects are spread out across the state.

George Floyd

Bodycam transcript reveals what was said between ex-officers, George Floyd

The attorney for ex-officer Thomas Lane has asked for the charges against him to be dismissed.

Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 8.01.05 AM

What did Amy Klobuchar reveal at her CNN town hall?

The Minnesota senator took questions from citizens in New Hampshire.

Little demand for Real ID licenses as the new system goes live

Minnesota is now issuing Real ID licenses, but people preferred the standard licenses on Day 1.

You may have to wait longer for your new driver's license to arrive

The Minnesota DVS is doubling the temporary license period.