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DMV Action Plan announced at
Mayoral Press Conference
June 20, 2002




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DMV Action Plan Statement of Councilmember Carol Schwartz

DMV Action Plan

1) New Staff

Fill 14 vacant budgeted positions. Secure 16 additional employees through DOES welfare-to-work participants.

Fill vacant positions in Inspection Station.

Seek detailees from other agencies who are trained in inspection work to help staff Inspection Station on Saturdays.

Secure senior citizen employees through Office of Aging to work in customer service centers.

2) Operations

Implement system to screen customers as they arrive at service centers to distinguish those who are "good to go" from those who have issues with unpaid tickets or other problems. Similar to "Express" lines at supermarket.

Establish specially trained staff at each location to help customers who have issues with unpaid tickets or other problems.

Prioritize shifts so that staffing levels reflect periods of peak demand (lunch hours, early mornings, Mondays, Saturdays, etc).

Beginning August 5, 2002, DMV will launch its Problem Resolution Network. This will be a full service resolution environment that will provide information and assistance on issues related to outstanding tickets. Residents will be able to call, use the web, or come into the office to request a payment plan or seek correction or dismissal of tickets due to incorrect ownership. After intake, residents will be given a tracking number for their inquiry and their case will be researched. A resolution will be sent to them within 4 to 6 weeks. It should be noted, that this will not replace the normal adjudication process for requesting a hearing.

3) Inspections

Take all steps necessary to expedite construction of new inspections facility on West Virginia Avenue.

Beginning August 5, 2002, DMV will engage 14 gas stations in the reinspection program. These stations will be able to conduct safety reinspections for residents who have failed their initial inspection.

4) Old Tickets

Beginning July 1, 2002, residents who have outstanding tickets that are dated prior to Jan. 1, 1997 can receive amnesty. This means that penalties and fees will be removed and payment due will consist of only the original face value of the ticket(s). This program will apply to parking tickets only.

During the amnesty period, anyone who has a license or registration that is due for renewal will receive a 6 month temporary vehicle registration or license. At the end of the 6 month period, all tickets must be paid or resolved in order to renew.

Beginning July 8, 2002, DMV will accept requests for payment plans. The criteria for the plan will be outstanding tickets over $250, with 25% down and 6 months to pay. Tickets must be at least 60 days old to qualify for the plan. It should be noted that not all applicants will be accepted for the plan.

5) Public Information

Beginning July 15, 2002, DMV will begin sending letters to residents who have outstanding tickets. They will be informed that they need to resolve their outstanding tickets or obligations before seeking to renew their license or registration. The letter will also direct residents to where they can get assistance and information for resolution or a payment plan.

Through mailings and PSAs, we will urge citizens to use on-line and mail in options so that they can avoid coming in person to service centers. ("Skip the Trip," "On-line beats In-line every time")

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Talking Points - Councilmember Carol Schwartz

Thank you Mr. Mayor, and to my colleagues.

As many of you know, my Committee held a hearing last week on the Motor Vehicle Department. Well it went on for seven and a half hours and it wasn't pretty. We are having problems here, let's not kid ourselves. My colleagues and I on the Council are hearing painful stories from our constituents; frontline low-paid workers are having to be the bearers of all this bad news; the mayor is getting a lot of e-mail he doesn't really want to read; the lines are too long; the complaints are too numerous and too believable to come to any other conclusion but that we a have a problem.

The way I see it, you can't begin to solve a problem until you recognize and then admit that you have one. Well, thank goodness, all involved admit it. So, we've taken the first step in solving it. I see here today a real commitment on the part of my colleagues and the mayor to solve this problem and to do so in a way that is fair to all citizens. I sense a determination in Sherryl Hobbs Newman to make things right and to meet the new demands that have been placed on her agency.

As the chairman of the oversight Committee, I have a special interest in the operation of the Department of Motor Vehicles and the other agencies that work closely with the department. But I also have a personal interest. I don't have a government car or driver. I have my own car I need my car. I need to have it registered, insured and inspected just like everyone else. I need to know that my government is up to the task of renewing my registration and my license in a timely fashion. I need to know that my government can run my car through the inspection process in a reasonable amount of time. None of us have all day to sit in line waiting to have our car inspected or getting a registration renewed.

As we go forward, my Committee will continue to monitor the operations at DMV and we will hold those in charge accountable. We are here in good faith and we are here because we want to be part of the solution and the Council was a part of the solution. I think that we can bring relief to those who need relief. Our people deserve better and we're going to do all we can to improve the situation.

Thank you Mr. Mayor. It's been good to work with you and your staff on this important issue.

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