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Roberts brothers now definitely get the contract for Northside license office

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 5, 2009 -The Missouri Department of Revenue made it official Friday, that the contract to run St. Louis' Northside license office is awarded to a firm owned by two well-connected brothers, Michael and Steve Roberts.

The award wasn't unexpected, since the firm of Roberts-Roberts & Associates, LLC. made the only bid for office, which had been run by prominent Republican Yvonne Hunter. The Roberts brothers are Democrats.

The Revenue Department noted that the office contract is the 20th to be awarded under "a comprehensive bidding process that has been championed by Gov. Jay Nixon."

The Missouri Republican Party has jabbed at some the contract awards, since several have gone to well-connected Democrats, including the former husband of state Auditor Susan Montee.

However, the governor's office has previously emphasized the awards are based on who makes the best bids. And if that happens in some cases to be fellow Democrats who are friends of the governor, so be it. (It used to be that all such contracts automatically went to allies of whoever was governor, so Nixon's staff says the new system is superior -- if not totally devoid of politics.)

In any case, as for the Northside office, the Revenue Department says, "The office will remain at its present location of 1330 Aubert Ave., Suite 102, at the intersection of Aubert Avenue and Page Boulevard. 

"Details about days of operation and transitional changes in the operating hours of the offices, if any, will be announced by the new agent."

Hunter has agreed to continue to operate the office until July 1, to smooth over the transition, Revenue officials said earlier this week.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.