No End in Sight for Backlogged Vehicle Registration System

The upside for the Dayton Administration’s hopelessly dysfunctional MNLARS vehicle registration system? It hasn’t crashed since November 2. The downside? Some 269,000 registration and title transactions remain backlogged in the system as of last Friday.

That’s the update from Dana Bailey, the new Executive Director of Projects and Initiatives for MN.IT, the high tech state agency responsible for the disastrous computer system that was tens of millions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule–and still doesn’t work.

In spite of the disruption to hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans over the last six months, Bailey expressed her concern to the Pioneer Press over the feelings of the well intentioned, albeit inept, staff at MN.IT.

As an outsider, Bailey — former St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s chief of staff and a former Dayton adviser — said it was quickly apparent to her that those working on MNLARS well outside the view of the public were devoted to fixing a system that no one foresaw would cause so much trouble — but that in hindsight, numerous officials have acknowledged, should never have been launched when it was.

But the spotlight on the troubles has taken a toll, she said. Deputy registrars range from “frustrated to angry” at the delays the system has caused, while the state’s I.T. employees have felt it from several fronts.

“I can tell you right now, especially after that last Senate hearing, morale is low, and understandably, when somebody calls for the firing of anyone that’s ever touched the system,” Bailey said Thursday in an interview with the Pioneer Press. “It’s really unfortunate because they work so hard to fix the system. Mistakes were made and nobody’s denying that. But everybody who’s there right now is focused on fixing the system.”

Dayton appointed Bailey to fix the beleaguered system ASAP. But hard to tell exactly what she does by her job description on the MN.IT website.

Dana works to improve our partnerships with other state agencies and stakeholders, in an effort to deliver projects on time and on budget. Bailey focuses on prioritizing goals, increasing accountability, and better communicating with our project partners and the public.

Bailey’s bio includes no apparent education or employment experience in high-tech. Her credentials? Mainly political positions, most recently with former St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, now a candidate for governor.

Dana has over fifteen years of experience in community and stakeholder engagement and public policy implementation. Prior to working with MNIT, Dana served as the Chief of Staff to St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith. During her time with the Governor’s Office, she oversaw some of the administration’s top priorities and numerous complex projects.

MN.IT pledged to provide a to-do list on fixes needed at MNLARS by the end of January. But some Republican legislators aren’t waiting around. They launched a website for Minnesotans to vent at

The responsibility of the development, implementation, and support of MNLARS lies with Gov. Dayton’s administration. After over a decade of planning and at least $93 million, there is little to show for it — and even fewer answers. Despite several oversight hearings held by the legislature, the state agencies involved have offered no solutions, no timelines, and no accountability.


Complaints continue to pour in from all over the state. Here’s a few examples.

MNLARS is a financial and IT program disaster! Still waiting months for title transfer and stuck in limbo! Fire them all as any private company would never be paid for something that does not work! Follow the money as stop the bleeding!

System is a joke!!! I can’t believe how incompetent the state was on this!

I have sold the camper without title. The buyer understands the recklessness of our state IT, and we both agree that if we had made decisions such as this in the private sector, we would have been looking for a new job by August.

Anyone with a MNLARS moment can weigh in  here.