Conn. DMV a Disgrace: Full and Immediate Housecleaning Needed

The very fundamental purpose of state government is to provide essential services like education, roads, the national guard and various others. When one fails to do the job, it’s the responsibility of the governor and state legislature to fix the problem. The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles is failing miserably and has become synonymous with wasted time and government failure. It’s an absolute joke. An immediate housecleaning is needed starting with Commissioner Andres Ayala, a former Democratic state senator. He should resign immediately. If he won’t, he should be fired.

A “computer upgrade,” “switchover” or “roll out” have lost their usefulness as excuses. The problems date to the summer when wait times at DMV branches stretched into hours.

There’s no excuse. A department that conjures up thoughts of arrogance and indifference now simply connotes incompetence. Anecdotal stories abound.

When talk surfaced in the summer that the DMV was not properly prepared for the number of undocumented immigrants in the state that would apply for drivers’ licenses, the department pulled a Nixonian move and tried to cover it up. They actually told driver school instructors to deny that the new license applications were the problem.

DMV shutdown

Ayala issued an apology for the disinformation email telling the Hartford Courant, “Unfortunately … I probably should have looked at it a little bit closer.” Huh? What else does a DMV commissioner do other than run the department and one would think, be in charge of information going out on the department’s behalf?

Just what took the Commissioner Ayala and his people by surprise? The law allowing undocumented immigrants to hold a “drive only” license was passed in 2013. He had two-plus years notice that a flood of new applications was coming. In fact, the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis predicted an increase of 54,000 applications. That was high. There were about 50,000 and the DMV was caught completely unprepared.

But it’s a new year and the DMV gets a fresh start and a new beginning, right? Guess again. If it’s possible, the DMV set an even new standard for ineptitude. The prevailing thought for many citizens was that if they could get their business done at a DMV branch without going crazy, they’d be ok. But the department found a way to reach out and abuse people who thought they were safely away from it.

Amazingly, the DMV started suspending vehicle registrations for no reason. Heads rolled, right? Not even close. We got yet another apology from Commissioner Ayala. How many times can he go to the well of “I’m very sorry?”

 

Gov. Dannel Malloy has been taking some heat from critics for allegedly concentrating his energy on the national scene—acting as a surrogate for Hillary Clinton, getting serious facetime as the head of the Democratic Governors Association, and the latest, guest starring at this week’s State of the Union address as a guest of the first lady.

If Malloy’s absence on the issue isn’t enough, state legislators are nowhere to be found on this mess either. Is it because Ayala is a former colleague? It’s not clear.

What is clear is that the Connecticut DMV is in the midst of yet another epic fail. And the people of the state are the victims.