BOSTON, JUL. 29 - I am pleased to hear that the Joint Committee on Transportation will reconvene on Tuesday, July 30 and continue the important work of investigating and providing oversight of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). A fair explanation of the initial issues can be found by accessing this link.
In light of recent events I have a heightened interest in this developing situation. The Legislature has an obligation to oversee the proper administration of state funds, among other duties and concerns.
This certainly has the early markings of a situation that is going to get worse before it gets better in terms of course correcting. The fact that the registrar has resigned and that the first week of an audit yielded hundreds of license suspensions that were never carried out is alarming to say the least.
The current known issues are centered around a review of the RMV's state-to-state data sharing. However, further transparency and accountability questions surfaced when many of those invited to testify at the first oversight hearing failed to show up or provide written testimony.
I share Speaker DeLeo's confidence in the Joint Committee on Transportation as well as his frustration with the process to date.
Following the abrupt adjournment of the initial oversight hearing on Monday, July 22, Speaker DeLeo stated the following, “I have the utmost confidence in Chair Straus and Chair Boncore and fully support the Transportation Committee in its pursuit of all the facts surrounding the devastating failures at the RMV. The constitutional authority and solemn responsibility of the Legislature to conduct oversight hearings—and demand full cooperation by government officials—are long recognized. The Legislature’s oversight role should not—and will not—be subjugated to that of an outside auditing firm. I applaud the committee’s professional discharge of its responsibilities in an effort to protect residents and determine what, if any, further legislative action is necessary."
The RMV must recognize that it has a responsibility to enforce the laws governing safe operation of vehicles and ensuring our residents that unsafe drivers will kept off our roads. Unfortunately in recent weeks, we have seen a string of disappointments coming out of the agency. The lack of communication between the RMV and with other registries across the country has resulted in a deadly and tragic traffic collision and the suspension of over 1,500 licenses to date.
It's become apparent that perhaps for years the agency has had a nonexistent system to exchange information on violators across the country, neglecting thousands of notices which may have changed the course of events in Randolph, New Hampshire. At this moment, I can only conclude that the RMV's actions, or inaction, are simply unacceptable, irresponsible, and embarrassing for our Commonwealth.
I reiterate my support for my colleagues in the Joint Committee on Transportation for reconvening an important public hearing on the matter, and I will remain attentive to the outcomes of these efforts and possible additional undertakings to provide strengthened oversight.