Gov. Newsom Announces Changes at Troubled DMV

California Connection
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SACRAMENTO -- Governor Gavin Newsom presented his DMV strike team's report Tuesday morning, spelling out a comprehensive plan to reform the department and improve customer service.

"The systems that underly, that hold up the Department of Motor Vehicles, the architecture, the technology is byzantine," Newsom said.

Newsom said Tuesday was the beginning of a years-long process and he plans to “under-promise but overdeliver.”

"We are looking to modernize but at the same time do it in a very systemic and sequential way,” he said.

One of the first steps in that process was hiring a new director of the DMV straight out of Silicon Valley, Steve Gordon. Gordon previously worked for zTransforms, a consulting company focused on business-wide process improvement.

The governor also allotted $242 million of the budget to reform the department, part of which will go toward hiring nearly 1,900 temporary employees.

“And that's really going to allow us to be able to make those changes to the infrastructure, make those changes to the system, and really improve the ability to deliver the services that all Californians expect," Gordon said.

Officials hope to decrease wait times by having more employees in DMV offices but they're also encouraging people not to go to those offices unless they absolutely have to.

The new plan aims to offer customers more ways to interact with the DMV and a new, easier-to-use website to handle more transactions online.

Select DMV offices, Davis, Fresno, Victorville and Roseville, will also begin accepting credit cards later this year and the department will launch a new marketing campaign to make sure more Californians know about those options.

“We're in a completely different world and so it's mobile, it's local, it's social, it's cloud, it's crowd,” Newsom said.

The reforms are coming at a crucial time as state officials anticipate up to 28 million Californians still need to get their Real ID cards before next year's Oct. 1 deadline.

“We know that’s coming and we’re doing everything we can to mitigate that and reduce the volume,” Newsom said. “Increase the transactions online, decrease the in-person engagement."

DMV offices across the state will be closed until 1 p.m. on Wednesday as staff undergoes more training.


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