A Year Later: No Change at the Connecticut DMV. An Open Letter to Governor Malloy

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Dear Governor Malloy,

It was on July 22, 2015 that the DMV in Connecticut announced it was closing for a week to upgrade its computer systems to ” cut down on wait times at he DMV”. This new computer system was designed to automate the services of Connecticut’s motorists and allow them to do much of their needs online. Unfortunately, there are still things that require you to go into the Motor Vehicle Department and once you are there you had better be prepared to spend 3-4 hours waiting in line or in a seat.

For example, yesterday my step-son who was all excited that he had passed his driving test. Which incidentally was monitored by a private company which then scheduled 20-30 teenagers to meet with the DMV inspector off-site and take their drivers test. The whole process cost well over $300.  Once you take all the required training, classes and tests he went to the DMV to get his new license and had to wait 4 hours there just to get a photo taken and pay a $72 fee. My wife went with him at 11 am but had to leave at 1:30 to go to work, I had to drive to Old Saybrook, to wait in a seat next to him and drive him home. We finally left around 2:30. What other business, service or government agency takes 4 hours to see one of its’ clients? How do they get away with it and how come there isn’t more outrage by the public, the Governor or the legislature? I worked years ago in the Department of Human Resources and if we didn’t see a welfare recipient waiting to be interviewed within 5 minutes we were in trouble. Why aren’t DMV employees held to the same standard?

The Department spent 26 million tax dollars on a new computer system last year which was so riddled with problems , complaints  and glitches this caused the commissioner to resign in January of this year.There is no doubt that the political appointment was a mistake so who did Governor Malloy appoint to replace the commissioner? the person who was second in line under the previous commissioner Michael Bzdyra.

According to David Collins of The Day paper in New London,

“Recognizing the colossal failure of the agency, state Sen. Toni Boucher of Wilton, ranking Republican senator on the Transportation Committee, called on Malloy to search far and wide for a suitable replacement for Ayala, once the embattled commissioner finally resigned.

“Rather than make a purely political appointment, the administration should do a nationwide search to find a commissioner that will be able to resolve the troubling issues currently plaguing the Connecticut DMV,” Boucher said.

Well, predictably, Malloy made a purely political appointment, someone who should be held accountable for the “troubling issues.”

The problem with the DMV is not its’ computer system. Since private companies like AAA are using the old system just fine. When I walk into the AAA office to renew my licence it takes no more than 5 minutes, why can’t the DMV be just as efficient using the same old system? The problem with the DMV as it has always been, is its workers and lack of monitoring of customer service and customer service times. What consequence is there if one of the workers takes too long seeing individual clients? How does the DMV keep track of who has seen the most or least amount of  clients in a day? How is it decided which line number service gets attention and which doesn’t? how do you prioritize those waiting? What kind of “triage” do you use to get the neediest people started in the process or those with the least amount of assistance out first? How do you determine who can do their service online to do it right there at the DMV, without having to clog up the lines?

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I have 5 suggestions, but honestly is this the first year the DMV has been in business, shouldn’t they know what they need to do to improve their own service?

What the DMV needs to do is:

  1. Set up a customer service monitoring system with real consequences for workers who do not see a certain number of clients in a day.
  2. Have a computer system, when you walk in the door that asks you a series of questions to determine if you even have to be there. can you finish or complete your needs right there online on the computer, or go to an outside contractor ie. AA to get your licence etc.
  3. Develop a computer system that scans the paperwork in your hands to determine you have everything you need to complete your transaction that day, if not saves your file until you provide needed documentation. Also, can be completed online.
  4.  Set up clear lines of demarcation which window service which need? Dedicated workers to walk the lines answer questions, guide people and monitor wait times.
  5. A commissioner who comes from the customer service industry or consultants to help.

let’s face it Governor Malloy, generally speaking, the DMV is the one state agency that the average Connecticut citizen has the most contact with and the first one our children have contact with. Unfortunately,  in Connecticut it is the worse run, most bureaucratic and purely frustrating agency. It not only leads to resentment of government and paying taxes but diminishes all the other things the state does, while at the same time paints a dark stain on your administration.

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5 thoughts on “A Year Later: No Change at the Connecticut DMV. An Open Letter to Governor Malloy

  1. This is absolutely ridiculous…. here in Ohio we complain if we have to wait more than a few minutes! State services such as the DMV and others need to be operated with competence and appointed commissioners need to be experienced and knowledgeable.

    Is the Connecticut DMV this bad all over the state? Or is it mainly in your county or area?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s also the cronyism involved in appointments made by a governor who seems more concerned with putting his friends in positions than in providing citizens with a working department.

    Like

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