By Kristin Rover
Linda Fraley, deputy registrar of the Batavia License Bureau, approached commissioners for a second time about creating a special revenue fund for the bureau during the Nov. 20 informal session. Fraley is also the county auditor.
According to the Ohio Administrative Code, the county auditor can be designated to serve as deputy registrar.
Fraley said the BMV, which is responsible for issuing vehicle registrations, drivers licenses, state identification, and other services to members of the community, brings in about $150,000 in revenue each year.
“Currently that is moved into the general fund and then re-distributed to everyone,” Fraley said about the funds.
Fraley said instead of this arrangement, she would like to move the money into a special revenue fund.
Fraley first approached commissioners about a special revenue fund during the July 31 informal session .
During the July 31 session, Clermont County Administrator Stephen Rabolt said Fraley submitted a request to create the special revenue fund to commissioners.
Fraley said during the July 31 session the funding of the bureau has become a management nightmare.
She said her staff is not paid enough and she also does not have the funds to make improvements to the building, including parking.
Commissioner David Uible asked during the July 31 session what it would take to get staff to a pay level Fraley would feel comfortable with.
He said he would be willing to look at numbers and consider appropriating more funds for employees.
Commissioner Bob Proud said he would also agree with looking at what additional revenue Fraley would need for employees at the office.
“To me, right now, that is number one,” Proud said. “To be able to look at that and be able to appropriate that.”
Uible said the revenue generated by the BMV is important for the county, just like the revenue from other departments, and it would be foolish for the county to give the revenue up if they can find a solution.
“But it is a battle every year,” Fraley said. “And, Dave, I don’t want to do it anymore.”
She said if she had known how difficult running the bureau would be she wouldn’t have agreed to it several years ago.
Fraley said she can give notice to the state at any time if she wants to end her duties as deputy registrar.
Commissioners did not approve a special revenue fund for Fraley during the July 31 session.
After the July 31 session, in a letter dated Aug. 7, Fraley submitted notice of her resignation as deputy registrar to Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Registrar Mike Rankin.
“It is with deep regret that I am forced to give notice as to my intention to terminate the current contract as deputy registrar for the Batavia License Bureau number 1305,” Fraley wrote in the letter. “It is my desire to cease as deputy registrar effective November 1, 2013.”
In the letter she wrote that the reason for stepping down was the funding of the office.
“Although we have without exception contributed significantly each year excess funds back to the county general fund, our budget for operations allowed by the commissioners has been inadequate given the new evaluation process developed by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the constant pressure to find and retain employees at competitive wages,” Fraley wrote.
In a letter dated Nov. 4, commissioners explained that they have no intention of creating a special revenue fund for the BMV, but are willing to work with Fraley to address her concerns.
“During this meeting we made our position clear, we have no intention of creating a special revenue fund,” commissioners wrote after the July 31 informal session. “But we are willing to consider additional financial requests from your office in order for you to continue with the management of the Clermont County BMV operation.”
During the Nov. 20 informal session, Fraley again discussed her reasons for requesting the special revenue fund and said she needed to give the state an answer about whether or not she would be continuing her duties as deputy registrar and how she will go about closing the office if that is what happens.
Humphrey said if Fraley decides to move forward with her resignation from the position, it will be up to her to determine when she will close.
“If it does close I think it would be your plan,” Commissioner Ed Humphrey said. “The board, up until this point is not interested in a special revenue fund. If you are going to close after June it is your plan.”
The letter from commissioners stated that they do not want Fraley to step down from her position.
“We believe the closing of the BMV offices in Clermont County is not in the best interest of the county or or citizens, but we understand your oversight of the operation is strictly voluntary and you reserve the right to resign from your position and cease involvement as you see fit,” commissioners wrote in the letter.
According to the Ohio Administrative Code, the clerk of courts could be appointed to serve deputy registrar in counties with a population of less than 40,000.
The population of Clermont County, according to the 2010 census, is more than 197,000.
The Ohio Administrative Code also states that a deputy registrar can be selected through a competitive award process.
Uible said they do not want to privatize the BMV operations in the county.
Commissioners did not make any additional decisions regarding the special revenue fund during the Nov. 20 session.
Humphrey said that because Commissioner Bob Proud was not at the meeting, they would wait further to discuss the issue.
Humphrey said the next time they will all be able to meet together and continue the discussion about a special revenue fund will be during the Dec. 4 informal session.