Why Dozy DMV Is Dangerous

According to Investigations of Improper Activities by State Agencies and Employees, a new report from California’s state auditor, “A key data operator at the Department of Motor Vehicles failed to perform her essential duties over a period of nearly four years because she slept at her desk for extended periods of time during work hours. From February 2014 through December 2017, the employee misused more than 2,200 hours of work time as a result of sleeping on the job, costing the State more than $40,000.” The unnamed employee still works at the DMV, national news coverage noted, but that left some back stories uncovered.

DMV workers are represented by the powerful Service Employees International Union, which parades outside the state capitol chanting “This is our house!” Whatever misconduct DMV employees indulge, the SEIU will stick up for them. Taxpayers should not be surprised that the DMV sleeper kept her job, but nobody should think that incompetence is the only problem. 

Corrupt DMV employees have been using Californians personal information to commit bank fraud and identity theft. Others have been taking bribes to hand out commercial driving licenses, altering DMV records in the process to show that applicants had passed. One of those charged in the case was DMV Kari Scattaglia, daughter of DMV deputy chief investigator Vito Scattaglia. So nepotism is also in play and another backstory involves health care. 

During the Obamacare surge, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said he was looking forward to health care as run by the Department of Motor Vehicles, which in his view would be better than his current private arrangement. In reality, government monopoly health care strengthens protections for incompetence and corruption. Canadian nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer was fired from her first job for stealing drugs and working in a stupefied condition. The Ontario Nurses Association filed a grievance on behalf of the nurse and the hospital agreed to keep the firing hidden from future employers. Thus protected, Wettlaufer went on to kill eight people with insulin overdoses and attempted to kill six others. The nine-year killing spree went undiscovered by all government agencies. This is what can happen under health care as run by the DMV. 

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K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at The Daily Caller.

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