State To Review Two-Plate Policy For Top Elected Officials

Sep 21, 2011

The traffic stop of state treasurer Denise Nappier earlier this month has prompted the state to review its practice of offering two licenses plates to its highest elected officers. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. When police pulled Nappier over on Sept. 1, she had two different license plates for her car.  One looked like a standard six-digit plate and was on the vehicle; the other was a plate with the number 4 on it -- a sign of her role as the state's treasurer. But following the confusion that led police to charge Nappier, the state says it's looking into whether the two-plate practice for constitutional officers should continue. "This is an issue that probably wouldn't have come to the forefront under normal conditions." That's Donald DeFronzo, the state's commissioner of administrative services.  He appeared on WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show earlier this week and he says the use of the second set of plates began in the Weicker administration -- back when there was great public furor over the implementation of the income tax.  At the time, the anonymity provided security. "We had this incident occur a couple of weeks ago and so we're taking a look at this. Should both sets of plates be issued -- I think that policy needs to be reviewed." Larry Cafero agrees.  He's the Republican house minority leader.  He says the governor and lieutenant governor should have a car, a driver, and two plates, too.  But that's it.  "Why does the treasurer need, what it is, number 4? Why does the comptroller need whatever the heck their number is?  I don't think it's necessary. I don't know why they need a car, why they need a driver, why they need special plates.  I mean, come on.  Who cares?" And, Cafero says that if you want to get an alternative plate, fine.  But get it, and stick with it -- just like legislators who want special plates are asked to do.  And, for the record, Cafero doesn't have special plates. "There's a lot of people that don't know we even have a treasurer or comptroller, let alone for security reasons.  Are you kidding me?  Someone wants to harass the treasurer or comptroller?  People don't think that way." In addition to DeFronzo, a spokesman for the state Department of Motor Vehicles says his office is reviewing the two-plate system, too. For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.