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Crash at DMV

Governor Easley says the resignation of his appointee as DMV commissioner was "appropriate." What an understatement

It is difficult to understand the magic North Carolina’s Governor Easley saw in George Tatum, his appointee in 2003 as state commissioner of motor vehicles. Tatum is a former Cumberland County register of deeds, a former lieutenant in that county’s sheriff’s office.

The Division of Motor Vehicles, which handles driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations and oversees inspections, is a fairly complex agency in need of a commissioner with a track record of administrative skill and experience.

Unfortunately, like the Department of Transportation of which it is part, the DMV has a tradition of being headed by political appointees. That’s a formula for trouble, and Tatum’s tenure is good evidence as to why.

The now-former commissioner quit Wednesday when a storm blew up after The N&O reported questionable handling of a vehicle title. Documents and interviews with a DMV staff member suggested that a friend’s connection to Tatum had helped that friend get a replica of a 1937 Ford truck titled as the real thing. (Owners of true vintage vehicles pay lower taxes than those on replicas.) (more…)

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