Bowes fired at state RMV as board calls for new leadership

  • FILE - In this July 6, 2019, file photo, motorcyclists participate in a ride in Randolph, N.H., to remember seven bikers killed there in a collision with a pickup truck in June. State transportation officials in Massachusetts are expected to be questioned during a legislative oversight hearing on Monday, July 22, 2019, in Boston, about the Registry of Motor Vehicles' failure to suspend the commercial license of the truck driver charged in the crash that killed the seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire. (Paul Hayes/Caledonian-Record via AP, File) Paul Hayes

State House News Service
Published: 8/20/2019 4:02:49 PM

An oversight board voted Tuesday to fire Merit Rating Board Director Thomas Bowes, making him the second Registry of Motor Vehicles employee to depart in the wake of a fatal crash allegedly caused by a driver whose license should have been suspended.

In its first meeting since 2015, the Merit Rating Board's oversight board voted 3-0 to terminate Bowes, calling for new leadership to help address the systemic problems that allowed thousands of written out-of-state driver violation notices to pile up unaddressed.

"Based on everything we learned over the past eight weeks, the Merit Rating Board needs to head in a different direction and I believe it requires new leadership," Acting Registrar Jamey Tesler, one of the board's three members, said.

Bowes appeared briefly at the meeting with his attorney, Leonard Kesten, where he said he took "full responsibility" for the role his department played in a June 21 crash in New Hampshire that killed seven motorcyclists.

Speaking to reporters outside the meeting, Kesten said Bowes expected to be fired but that it was "unfortunate" for state leaders to target him when, he said, dozens of other employees played a role in the RMV's years-long failures.

The board, which also includes Commissioner of Insurance Gary Anderson and Glenn Kaplan, chief of Attorney General Maura Healey's insurance and financial services division, is responsible for overseeing the Merit Rating Board unit but had not met in four years, according to the Healey's office.

Former Registrar Erin Deveney resigned in the wake of the crash.

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