Top state official involved in MNLARS development fired

A top state official involved with developing the troubled computer system for vehicle licensing has been fired.

Paul Meekin said in a statement that he is considering legal options following his termination. Meekin was put on leave late last year.

The MNLARS system has been plagued by problems since it went online last summer, with customers experiencing difficulties with plate, tab and title transactions.

In a statement, Meekin said the success of a government project is never just one person's responsibility.

"It's a disservice to the people of Minnesota to give the impression that by putting a head on a spike, the problem will be solved," Meekin wrote.

He added that citizens should be concerned that lawmakers did not better utilize those who helped create MNLARS to find and fix the problems in the system.

He also expressed gratitude for the "very dedicated, intelligent and hard working people" he worked with.

Meekin was involved with MNLARS from its early stages. He was listed as the project director in 2009 and 2010 and was part of the project steering committee in later years.

Meekin appeared before the House transportation committee in September to answer questions about the system's rocky rollout, but did not attend a Senate transportation committee hearing on the same subject in November.

"If we ask for staff to be here to answer our questions, I would appreciate it if they would be here," the committee chair, Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, noted at the time.

On Monday, a Senate panel moved a measure forward that would provide $7.3 million toward fixing the system, short of the $10 million requested by state agencies.

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