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Marble Hill gets agent for license bureau

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- A former Republican candidate for Bollinger County assessor will head the new license bureau in Marble Hill, but when and where the office will open remains unclear, Missouri Department of Revenue officials said.

Department director Trish Vincent announced the tentative appointment of Richard VanGennip on Monday in a statement posted on the department's Web site.

"We don't have an office location yet," said Department of Revenue spokeswoman Maura Browning.

Meanwhile, Bollinger County residents have to drive to license bureaus in Jackson or Cape Girardeau to renew their license plates and get their driver's licenses.

That's because former license bureau agent Kaye Brown, who was an appointee of former governor Bob Holden, closed the office on March 31 without giving the required 30-day notice to the state.

But Brown said she had no choice. "My employees got other jobs," she said.

"I had no employees. You can't run it by yourself," Brown said.

New Perryville office

The Marble Hill office was among seven license bureau offices that Holden appointees shut down within the last several months. The office in Perryville, Mo., closed on March 8.

A new bureau in Perryville opened March 30 with a new agent, local health-care businessman and former state representative Patrick Naeger. The office is at 624 N. Old St. Mary's Road, Suite B.

But that's little help for Marble Hill residents.

"It is an incredible inconvenience, and we absolutely understand that," said Browning, the spokeswoman. "We have been put in a bad position and are trying to move forward and get a new agent as dedicated to customer service as we are."

Before the Marble Hill license bureau office can open, VanGennip will have to submit a business plan outlining details from financial responsibilities to office operations.

Under new procedures implemented by Gov. Matt Blunt, agents must hold Saturday office hours. The contract with the state establishes penalties and financial responsibility for errors, and requires agents to submit all deposits and reports to the department daily.

The state now requires most license bureaus to be open eight hours a day Monday through Friday and four hours on Saturday.

Offices that have fewer than 35,000 transactions a year are allowed to set their own hours, provided that they are approved by the department director.

Naeger said license bureau agents are political appointees but that Blunt's new procedures have increased accountability.

"I think it is a good, strategic thing for the governor to do," he said.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123


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