State contractors not checked

North Carolina's 124 private license-tag contractors handled more than 10.3 million transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the past year, but not one contractor was subject to a criminal background check.

It's unclear whether such checks would have headed off the “fraudulent activity” that Division of Motor Vehicles officials cited in closing two offices in High Point and Thomasville this month. Other states, such as Minnesota, also use private contractors to help issue plates and renew registrations, but they check the criminal histories of those they hire.

North Carolina agency employees do have to be bonded by an insurance company, according to DMV spokeswoman Marge Howell. The agencies pay a $50,000 deductible to cover “employee dishonesty” but are not required to – and routinely do not – ask for criminal histories. “It's something we will be reviewing,” said Portia Manley, DMV assistant director in charge of vehicle services. (Greensboro) News & Record