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DMV commissioner: Probe to look into computer contract, gifts

Posted September 29, 2009

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— The commissioner of North Carolina's Division of Motor Vehicles said the State Bureau of Investigation is looking into whether state employees broke the law by accepting gifts and meals from Verizon, which has a multimillion-dollar computing contract with the division.

Probe looking into gifts, computers Probe looking into gifts, computers

Commissioner Mike Robertson said Tuesday that Verizon says 62 state workers or their family members received Carolina Hurricanes hockey tickets, restaurant meals, spa services and other benefits from company employees between August 2006 and January 2009.

Robertson, who joined the division in March, said the SBI has been asked to look into the perk claims and into what happened to computers used to implement the state's electronic sticker program. The DMV paid for the computers, but currently some are unaccounted for.

“The SBI has been asked to look into this, and to whether or not any DMV employee had knowledge of this inventory or those stored computers," Robertson said.

Verizon spokesman Jack Hoey said the computers are in warehouses.

"At the end of the day, all 3,000 computers will be accounted for, and the ones that cannot be put physically in our possession, will be paid for by Verizon," Robertson said.

Robertson said no current employees have been disciplined as of yet and said that the division will conduct an internal investigation after the conclusion of the SBI probe.

Employees are required to follow state ethics rules against receiving gifts from vendors, Robertson added.

“The law says you can't use your job for personal gain,” said Jane Pinsky, director of the North Carolina Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform. “It says you can't take gifts from people who are contractors with the state. Technically, state employees shouldn't be taking gifts from citizens of the state.”

Hoey said five employees will be disciplined regarding the gifts and meals, and that the company is cooperating with the DMV to account for the missing computers.

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  • shakenbake68 Sep 30, 2009

    "Dose anyone know why the state bought computers for the e-sticker program to start with."
    maybe because certain people received kickbacks from the vendors. ;)

    "All the inspection stations I know paid about $6,000.00+ for theirs."
    $6,000 for a computer. I'd like to meet the salesperson who sold $6,000 computers.

  • Sidekick Sep 30, 2009

    Anybody that has to pay $6000 for a comuter is getting robbed.

  • jet2rdu Sep 30, 2009

    The DMV management should understand that any gifts from contractors paid for by state funds, gives the appearance of ethics violations. What type of senior manager would even think this is ok? And why does does state continue to award "No Bid" contracts? There are more problems with ethics violations here in Raleigh that our state news media need to report. Its time to peel away the skin of this onion before it spoils more.

  • firehog400 Sep 30, 2009

    Dose anyone know why the state bought computers for the e-sticker program to start with. All the inspection stations I know paid about $6,000.00+ for theirs. I have heard the answer to my question and guess what, it made about as much sense as jumping off the water tower with hopes of superman catching you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jodsum Sep 30, 2009

    Why should these employees be disciplined, they are not in the position to negotiate the contract deals. If you are anyone with influence making these contract decisions then you should be dealt with. What happens if a trial item comes with an order is the state employee told to give it back? The computer contract the state has you get so many free for ordering a certain number, state ITS takes those with no questions.

  • WHEEL Sep 30, 2009

    Looks like DMV has made it onto the Most Wanted List yet again. If Governors would quit using them and DOT as "patronage dump sites" we would be rid of half the crookedness and incompetence in Raleigh