Monett license office bid awarded

Friday, August 28, 2009

After a wait of over three months, the Monett Chamber of Commerce has been awarded the contract to continue operating the license office in Monett. The announcement came by e-mail shortly after 3 p.m. yesterday from the Missouri Department of Revenue.

"We're real excited about receiving the contract again," said Chamber Executive Director Suzy McElmurry. "We feel we have a wonderful facility and a trained and knowledgeable staff."

At the direction of Governor Jay Nixon, all the license offices in the state were put out for bid this year. The call for bids on the Monett operation was issued in mid-May. The Monett Chamber has operated the service since 1976, when it was established in Monett. Over the years the Chamber's operation has consistently been highly rated by the Department of Revenue. The Chamber office at 200 East Broadway was designed to operate the license fee office.
McElmurry said as far as she can tell, there were no other bids for the Monett operation. No others were posted on the Department of Revenue's web page, as has been the practice in competitive bidding throughout the process. A month ago the Department of Revenue sent the Chamber a request for clarification on several parts of the bid, including a request for a "best and final offer." McElmurry was not sure what to make of the second request. As part of the bidding process, the Department of Revenue had suggested bidders could get more points in a comparative evaluation by offering to return a portion of its fee revenue to the state.

"We opted not to do that," McElmurry said, "since the Chamber is a not-for-profit organization and all the money is reinvested back into the community."

The contract issued runs from Sept. 10 to Sept. 9, 2010. In another year, McElmurry said the Chamber will apparently have to go through the process all over again. With documentation, answered questions and requested attachments, the Chamber's bid totaled 203 pages.

Two unexpected requests came in the bid process. The Chamber was asked to produce a letter of credit or unencumbered assets totaling $30,000, much more than usual.

Also, McElmurry said the Department of Revenue has asked the Chamber to install security cameras in the office. The Chamber has always had a security system, but will have to invest an additional $6,000 to set up the requested camera system.

The Department of Revenue also asked the Chamber to submit a schedule for all the days the license office would be open, including a listing of holidays, through 2015.

As an expansion of service, McElmurry said hours at the license office will be expanded, beginning next month. Every Thursday the office will be open until 5:30 p.m.

"We're delighted to be able to continue to serve our area," McElmurry added.

New license office manager looks forward to challenge


Jamie Stephens recently began her tenure as manager of the Monett Chamber of Commerce's license office and is looking forward to continuing the local service.

Stephens grew up in Wheaton and lives in Purdy. She began working at the license office a little more than a year ago. She succeeded D.C. Wright as manager in July when Wright left to take a position out of state.

"I was hoping the Chamber can keep this office because it seems to be going well," Stephens said. "I think it works really well with the Chamber, the new office and all of the space. We have good employees and keep going forward and doing good like it has in the past."

Suzy McElmurry, executive director for the Chamber, described Stephens as "a good fit" for the position. Stephens had previously worked at U.S. Bank and was already familiar with preparing titles.

"When we hired her, we knew someday D.C. Wright would move on," McElmurry said. "We felt she was capable of stepping up to that position when we hired her."

As manager, Stephens is responsible for making deposits, doing reports, managing the inventory and staff. Keeping customers happy is also a priority, she said.

"It takes a lot of patience to be good at this job," Stephens said.

In another effort at customer service, Stephens has begun cross-training all of the staff so that each person can process motor vehicle transactions as well as completing applications for driver's licenses.

Presently the license office has four employees. In addition to Stephens, Adriana Salas is the other full-time staffer. Salas was working as an intern at the Chamber office when Stephens was promoted and was hired to fill the vacancy. Salas brings bilingual skills to the position.

The two part-time employees are Margaret Salsman, who has worked at the office for about six years, and Wendy Franklin.

Stephens has two boys, ages five and seven, who go to school in Wheaton.

"I do like it here and plan to stay put," Stephens added.

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