How will PennDOT grow via PAMSP’s “3rd party” model?

Since 1985 PAMSP (Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program) has been administered by a single 3rd party Program Administration company responding to an RFP (Request for Proposal), contracted in 5 year increments to staff and operate the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program (PAMSP).

As noted in one of our previous posts PAMSP is uniquely self-funded via fees collected from every motorcycle permit or license transaction to the tune of nearly $3,000,000 per year deposited in the Motorcycle Safety Education Account (MSEA) used to fund PAMSP operations.

§ 7905. Restricted receipts account:
“The department shall deposit all moneys received from the additional fees collected under this chapter in a restricted receipts fund, which shall be known as the Motorcycle Safety Education Account, and such moneys shall be applied to the costs incurred in administering and conducting motorcycle safety education programs.”

“Cost incurred in administering…”:

Many people complaining about funds being collected from permit and license fees in 2020 when PAMSP was not operating are screaming into the wind uselessly.

In 2020, even after the Program contract cancellation, PennDOT “spent” money in developing and operating their own web-based under 18 “training” curriculum. They “spent” money in closing and (again) inventorying sheds, purchasing new locks. They “spent” money in warehousing motorcycles. They’ll “spend” money repairing damaged motorcycles left unattended, opening new sites via the “Emergency” RFP. They’ll “spend” money on staffing and vendors to open up training for a month in 2020. They’ll “spend” money on mandatory training of 3rd party staff to meet PennDOT requirements.

With the 3rd party model being implemented in 2020 & 2021-2026 – where “any” 3rd party vendor teaching “any” curriculum can bid on and operate “any” motorcyclist training site under the PAMSP banner – external PAMSP vendors will have to financially optimize their operations. PennDOT is under no such constraint and PAMSP will no longer have a single 3rd party administrator to manage the Commonwealth-wide PAMSP – other than PennDOT itself.

Given the complexity of the 3rd party model in 2021 one of the questions no one is asking is how PennDOT will staff up to manage multiple contracts, vendors, sites, etc. moving forward and where funds to support this administrative overhead will be derived from. As they are costs “incurred in administering and conducting…”. PAMSP they could certainly be funded from MESA (the Motorcycle Safety Education Account).

Moving forward into 2021:

The PennDOT PAMSP “3rd party model” will necessitate PennDOT serving as a the de jure Program Administrator as no one Administration Company will be managing the Program at a Commonwealth level.

Operationally if PennDOT assumes the overall Project Management/Program Administration responsibilities normally handled by a single contracted Program administration company it is not outside the realm of possibility that PennDOT will leverage MESA funds to pay for their staffing requirements.

In an earlier post we had recommended auditing PAMSP and this continues to be a constant recommendation, especially given the potential operational changes in the Program as well as the fiduciary responsibility that PennDOT has in managing MESA funds. The apparent total lack of oversight for PAMSP spending from ABATE of PA, the Pennsylvania Legislature & even the Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General make an audit of PAMSP even more timely before the operational & financial model change for 2021 and beyond.

As of this time there is no news on an audit of PAMSP, but making MESA account expenditures visible to Pennsylvania constituents should become a priority in order to increase transparency and at least allow the public to provide some limited oversight.

PennDOT can and will spend MESA funds on PAMSP and that has not stopped in 2020, nor has the collection of fees from PA M class permit and license holders and honestly they’d be foolish not to leverage the steady funds from MESA to their organizational benefit.

Those who constantly complain about the MESA account expenditures yet do nothing to ensure transparency, accountability & oversight should stop arm chair quarterbacking and making idle threats as political leverage.

If 2020, after all of the issues over the last ~10 years, wasn’t a catalyst to become more activist to the review of PAMSP nothing will.

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