Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is questioning an audit that said 1,905 driver's licenses were issued under the names of dead people.
The audit, conducted by the office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump, found that the RMV failed to properly use databases like the Social Security Administration's Death Master File to identify and deactivate licenses of people who have died and to ensure that new licenses were not issued in the name of someone who is deceased.
According to the audit, 97 percent of the licenses issued to deceased individuals were still listed as active as of January 2018.
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"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," Bump said in a 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."
Baker disputed the findings, telling reporters Thursday that "everybody on the list is alive."
Jacquelyn Goddard, a spokesperson for the RMV, issued a statement saying the agency "rejects the findings" in the auditor's report, "especially the false claim that the RMV is issuing licenses to 1,900 deceased individuals who the RMV has verified are alive." She added that the audit is outdated, as it was conducted before the implementation of an entirely new software system which has improved management and tracking capabilities.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 the RMV already uses the Social Security Administration's Death Master File, in addition to records from the state Department of Public Health.
Bump also called on the RMV to improve its oversight of disability parking placards after the audit found that the agency had processed over 10,000 requests for disability parking placards from individuals who were deceased.
But Goddard said this finding is also flawed, explaining that the RMV uses death records to identify deceased individuals and has already improved its database. She said the audit's recommendation that individuals with permanent medical conditions reapply for placards every five years would be too burdensome for someone with a permanent disability.
She also said the RMV is not missing any revenue, despite a claim by the auditor that no supporting documentation could be found for over $211 million in revenue.