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Bill tries to force new RMV hearing

Rep. Alicea sponsors special legislation

John Hickman of Southbridge speaks at the Dec. 7 RMV hearing in Southbridge Town Hall — to a panel that did not include a Registry representative. A special bill sponsored by state Rep. Geraldo Alicea, D-Charlton, seeks a new hearing that would require RMV attendance. File photo. (click for larger version)
January 24, 2010
State officials are working to hold another hearing about the controversial Registry of Motor Vehicles issues, but RMV officials say they are unaware of the request.

While no date has been set yet, the state Legislature's Joint Transportation Committee Chairman Joseph Wagner, D-Chicopee has asked Registrar Rachel Kaprielian to schedule, coordinate and attend a hearing about the closing of the Southbridge RMV branch last year, according to state Rep. Geraldo Alicea, D-Charlton. It would also cover the opening of a new RMV branch off the Mass Pike in Charlton.

Alicea said he asked Wagner to have Kaprielian schedule the gathering. The registrar has not responded yet, Alicea said, adding he wants the hearing to be held in the district and — sooner rather than later.

"I'm waiting for her to contact me," Alicea said.

RMV Spokesman Ann Dufresne Thursday said she was unaware of any hearing and would look into it.

Wagner could not be reached for comment Thursday.

This hearing would essentially replace one required by a bill Alicea filed last year, along with another piece of legislation. The former bill, if passed, would require the RMV hold a hearing about closing of the Southbridge branch.

While a separate hearing held as part of the legislative process in passing the other bills was held at the Southbridge Town Hall in December, Alicea said he wants the future session to air safety issues surrounding the move and why the RMV chose the new Charlton site. He also wants to address financial issues, which the RMV cited in its decision to close the Southbridge office.

"All these things need to be transparent," Alicea said. "It just also gives the people … an opportunity to be heard on this matter."

See Monday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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