The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 3:53 pm

More flubs get BMV new leader

Niki Kelly The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is getting a new leader and internal controls after yet another announcement Monday of newly discovered overcharges to Hoosier drivers.

That brings the total to about $57 million to be returned to BMV customers since the fall of 2013.

An internal review being handled by consultant BKD identified the latest snafus.

Gov. Mike Pence said about $13 million in undercharges were discovered too but Hoosiers will not be asked to repay the money to the BMV. Instead, the law will be changed to keep the lower fees.

"I want the back office at the BMV to run as well as the front office does," he said.

The governor praised current BMV Commissioner Don Snemis for his work but also said it was time for new leadership. Kent Abernathy – current chief of staff at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management – will begin his duties Feb. 12.

Snemis moves to a newly created position at the Family and Social Services Administration – special counsel for program integrity.

Pence also announced a new internal audit department will be set up within the BMV central office that will report to both agency superiors and the State Board of Accounts.

He said the BMV is a large, complex bureaucracy that applies a thousand fees and taxes that have evolved over several administrations. He acknowledged that sometimes the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

"I’m very confident we can reform it," Pence said. "This is a whole new era of fiscal responsibility."

He and Snemis said no one has been disciplined or fired over the multiple mistakes, though the majority of the management team has moved on.

The latest overcharges include $450,000 in credits to 21,000 people affected by delinquent fees for mobile and manufactured home titles; $1.2 million in refunds for 6,200 Hoosiers who paid reinstatement fees but later proved they had insurance; and $26,000 worth of miscellaneous credits and refunds to about 2,600 people.

Pence also warned there could still be more as the BMV and BKD review possible problems related to excise taxes for recreational vehicles and motorcycles.

BKD is expected to wrap up its work by May 1.

"How are these mistakes, costing Hoosiers millions of dollars, still occurring?" asked Rep. Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis. "I do not believe the agency can be trusted to oversee its own operations, unless you happen to believe that foxes are the best overseers of henhouses."

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