MVA examiner in Easton office is suspended Nine-year employee is accused of helping trucker applicants

April 30, 1992|By Peter Jensen | Peter Jensen,Staff Writer

An Eastern Shore Motor Vehicle Administration employee was suspended without pay yesterday and faces administrative charges centered on her relationship with a Baltimore truck driving school.

Constance Willi, 37, of Cambridge, an examiner employed at the MVA's Easton office, has been charged with incompetence, inefficiency and with willfully making false statements to her supervisors, said Rebecca Reid, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

Mrs. Willi and the New England Tractor Trailer Training School in Baltimore are also subjects of a criminal investigation by the state attorney general's office, according to Ned S. Kodeck, an MVA special assistant.

MVA officials said they were looking into the possibility that Mrs. Willi, a nine-year MVA employee, may have given commercial driver's licenses to New England students who were not qualified to pass the driver's test.

The officials said that Mrs. Willi did not disclose to her supervisors the fact that her husband, John Steven Willi, was employed at the driving school.

"Clearly, her relationship with her husband posed a conflict of interest," Ms. Reid said. "It appears she abused her role as someone who tested truck drivers coming in for commercial driver's licenses."

Ms. Reid said the MVA would retest any New England students who received licenses from Mrs. Willi between October 1991 and March 1992. She said about 25 drivers might be affected by that action.

Neither Mr. Willi nor Mrs. Willi could be reached for comment yesterday.

Christopher J. Romano, deputy chief of the attorney general's criminal investigations division, declined to confirm or deny the existence an investigation, "as a matter of policy."

Mark Greenberg, president of the Quincy, Mass., driving school, confirmed that Mr. Willi had been employed by New England "for about two months" as an instructor but that he had quit voluntarily.

Mr. Greenberg pledged to cooperate with state investigators and denied allegations that his students received special treatment from Mrs. Willi.

"To pass a few more people, we would never engage in criminal activity," Mr. Greenberg said. "We thought we were just doing a good job." The action was the second time in two weeks the agency has suspended an employee for alleged impropriety in giving out commercial driver's licenses. A Glen Burnie examiner was suspended April 18 for allegedly taking a bribe from an undercover police officer posing as a truck driver.

Mr. Kodeck of the MVA said that he was skeptical that such practices were widespread but that the problem may have been exacerbated by the new stricter standards imposed on commercial driver's licenses by the federal government.

In the last four years, about a dozen MVA employees have lost their jobs in such incidents and about six have been prosecuted, Mr. Kodeck said.

Concern over the integrity of the MVA has mounted in recent weeks in the wake of the Dontay Carter case.

The 18-year-old Baltimore murder suspect allegedly bribed an MVA clerk in the Mondawmin office to obtain a duplicate driver's license in the name of a 37-year-old man that police say he killed.

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