RMV: License Audit Used Outdated Data
BOSTON -- An audit released Thursday by the Office of the State Auditor revealed that the Registry of Motor Vehicles issued 1,905 driver’s licenses to individuals after they had died. But the RMV rejected the report with a statement of its own.
“The failure to prevent individuals from obtaining identification under the names of deceased people creates a significant public safety risk to the Commonwealth. Fixing this problem must be a top priority for the RMV,” State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said in a written statement. “Recent upgrades to the computer systems at the RMV provide it with more tools; now the agency must use them in conjunction with the data sources at its disposal to address this problem.”
RMV spokeswoman Jacquelyn Goddard said the Registry of Motor Vehicles rejects the Auditor’s report, “especially the false claim that the RMV is issuing licenses to 1900 deceased individuals who the RMV has verified are alive.”
“This audit is outdated, as it was conducted before the implementation of an entirely new software system which has improved management and tracking capabilities,” Goddard said in a statement.
In response to Goddard’s statement, Michael Wessler, director of communications for the Office of the State Auditor, said in an email Thursday that the office stands by its findings.
“Our initial testing showed 36 licenses issued in the name of deceased individuals, the RMV agreed with this and referred these instances to the State Police,” Wessler wrote. “We used the same process to identify the 1,905 licenses and to identify over 10,000 disability parking placards that were issued in the name of deceased individuals, which the RMV has also not disputed. We are pleased the RMV has updated its computer system and we hope that this will help the agency address this problem.”
Wessler said the office cross referenced the Social Security numbers of the list of active driver’s licenses that the RMV maintains with the Social Security Death Master List maintained by the U.S. Social Security Administration. He added that the office does not have the data localized to community and that it is the first time the Office of Auditor Suzanne Bump has looked at the issuance of IDs in the name of deceased individuals.
Gov. Charlie Baker, who first pushed back on the audit findings on Thursday, reiterated his position Friday.
“The information we have from the RMV is that all of those people the auditor alleged are dead, are alive,” Baker told reporters. “It’s as simple as that.”
State House News Service contributed to this report.
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