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Motor Vehicle Bureau to Fly on its Own


Oct. 13, 2005 — A bill establishing the Motor Vehicle Bureau as an entity separate from the Police Department was signed into law by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull Wednesday.
Introduced by Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, the bill seeks to improve some long-standing problems which have plagued the Bureau for the past decade —namely, shortages in staff and resources which have caused the offices to be closed for large chunks of time.
To address the shortages, the bill sets up a separate budget for the Bureau equal to $1 million, or 10 percent, whichever is more, of the Bureau's revenues for the year. With this funding, Donastorg said conditions should improve, allowing the Bureau to pull in at least $20 million annually in revenues for the government, while supporting itself.
Since the current system has also limited the authority of the Bureau's director in making decisions which affect the organization, the bill also establishes the MVB director will now be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature. This will allow the director greater flexibility in hiring and firing employees, as well as the power to address problems directly.
"Right now, if I put in any sort of request, it has to go through the Police Department's financial officer and deputy commissioner, before anything can get processed," Lawrence Olive, current MVB director, said to senators at a committee meeting in June. "It has really held up things from getting done."
Olive, called to testify on the bill when it was first up for debate in the Senate over the summer, said the Bureau has "outgrown" its place within the Police Department, and would continue to function poorly if the separation were not approved (See "Senate Considers Bill to Fix Motor Vehicle Bureau ").
Among other things, the bill also includes a provision which allows the Bureau to register those vehicles imported into the territory before Sept.1 with certificates of destruction.
According to a press release sent down by Government House, Turnbull said he did have some "reservations" about passing the bill because it did not address all issues with the system. Despite his concern, Turnbull signed the bill , saying it does provide for some improvements.

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