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NY senator criticizes disputed DMV contract

Associated Press Published: November 14, 2012

The DMV chose CBN in a scoring system that put emphasis on the security of the technology. CBN submitted the only bid using a kind of technology that involves black-and-white photos, which is widely used in stats and by other governments in addition to the technology used by the apparent losing bidders.

The DMV tentatively awarded the contract to the highest bidder 10 months after New York advised the current vendor, De La Rue North America Inc., that because of "significant budgetary constraints" the state would have to reduce the cost of the contract, according to the court filings. As a result, De La Rue submitted a bid 10 percent lower for the new, eight-year contract, which ended up being nearly $38 million less than CBN's bid of $88.5 million.

De La Rue, based in England, and Massachusetts-based MorphoTrustUSA, another unsuccessful bidder, want a rebid. They claim the bidding was unfair because they didn't known the DMV was interested in the black-and-white photo technology, according to a lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Albany. If they did, the companies claim they could have provided a lower cost to New York taxpayers.

"Government needs checks and balances to ensure a fair and open process," said Kate Gurnett of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office, which continues its review of the bid and its protests. "Our independent contract review ensures that the law is followed, that vendors are properly chosen and that New York taxpayers get the best value."