A top Cuomo administration aide is weighing into a dispute over the awarding of a contract to produce new driver's licenses with black-and-white photos. He says the choice is the best safeguard against terrorists and identity thieves.
State Director of Operations Howard Glaser is criticizing two state senators who questioned the tentative award of an $88.5 million contract to a Canadian company that was 40 percent higher than the next bid.
Glaser says Thursday the senators should get their facts straight to see if they want to sacrifice New Yorkers' security by going with the lowest bidder.
The two apparent losing bidders complain that CBN Secure Technologies was unfairly chosen.
One competitor, De La Rue North America, says its proposal exceeded the state's security requirements and provides color photos.
A year ago, the DMV solicited bids from driver's license manufacturers. The new contract was awarded to a Canadian company that will print the IDs in black and white, with the promise they'll better protect against terrorists and identity thieves.
The New York Association of Convenience Stores is against the plan, saying not being able to see a person's hair or eye color would make checking IDs even harder.
Adam Eagan, the managing partner at Empire Brewing Co. in Armory Square agrees, saying anything that makes it more difficult to identify someone is a bad idea in his business.
"It's already difficult enough living in a college town with fake identifications going around or even just a dark lit room. The black and white is going to make it a lot more difficult," says Eagan.
At North Side Market in Syracuse, owner Bassam Saad already has a problem with underage customers trying to buy cigarettes and alcohol. He says it will be even harder with a black and white driver's license.
The debate isn't over yet. The state comptroller plans to conduct an independent contract review to take a hard look at the proposal and make sure taxpayers' money is well spent.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this article.