Collin County announced March 20 that its passport offices are permanently barred from taking new passport applications.
Both Collin County passport offices, located in Plano and McKinney, have not been able to accept passport applications since a suspension in late December. This suspension came from the Dallas Passport Agency, a local branch of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, due to an ongoing federal investigation.
The five-year, multi-agency, passport fraud investigation is looking into fraudulent passport documents dating back to more than a decade, according to a Feb. 21 Collin County news statement.
Collin County District Clerk Lynne Finley’s office was notified of the closure on March 19 by Barry Conway, the managing director for Support Operations Passport Services, said a Collin County news statement. Conway said Finley had not adequately addressed the agencies’ concerns, according to the statement.
“As an elected official, four of my employees will lose their jobs and almost one million constituents will have to go elsewhere to apply for passports,” Finley said in the statement.
Finley submitted a request to Congressional leaders on March 26, asking them to investigate the federal agencies involved in her barring and look for ways to improve security procedures involving private passport expediting companies, according to the statement.
Finley said she believes her office was punished for pointing out other agencies flaws during interviews held earlier in the investigation.
Collin County residents now must make appointments at local post offices to file passport applications or go to another county’s passport office.