Mug shots on drivers licenses are notoriously dismal as far as photographs go, but have New York’s been so bad that they warranted dumping the state’s longtime contractor and hiring a Canadian firm — one that will charge taxpayers nearly $38 million more for the privilege of making them look like convicts than the old company would have?
Heck, the photos taken by the new company, CBN Secure Technology Inc. of Ottawa, aren’t even going to be color; at least the old ones, from 16-year contractor De La Rue North America (also a foreign company) were.
All joking aside, the big question about the contract the state Department of Motor Vehicles has tentatively approved is cost: CBN bid $88.5 million, while the Associated Press reports that De La Rue — 10 months after reportedly being browbeaten by the state to shave its price, and doing so — bid about $50 million.
De La Rue and another bidder that was lower than CBN, Morpho TrustUSA, are clamoring for a re-bid, claiming the state’s request for proposals was flawed.
The contract is on hold pending a review by the state comptroller’s office. One can only hope that the state, which remains in considerable financial distress, doesn’t end up paying more for a contract than is absolutely necessary. If the RFP was unclear, then start over.
Security is obviously a concern with drivers licenses, and it’s possible that CBN’s technology — a black-and-white polycarbonate card — was superior in that respect to the others’ color card. But it’s not as if there have been a slew of security issues with New York’s drivers licenses over the last 16 years.