Dozy DMV Wants More Dollars

In the state capital of Sacramento, a man named Tyré Nichols went online, secured all his paperwork, and arrived promptly at the Department of Motor Vehicles expecting to be in and out in two hours. Despite his preparation and punctuality, Nichols wound up waiting six hours, “in miserable 98-degree heat.” As it happens, this is a typical experience. Over the past year, DMV wait times have increased 60 percent, delaying Californians by up to seven hours. While Californians wait in line, DMV employees sleep on the job.

As we noted, according to 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, her job protected by the powerful Service Employees International Union, which parades outside the capitol chanting “This is our house!” Other DMV employees have been using Californians’ personal information to commit bank fraud and identity theft, and DMV bosses have taken bribes to alter records and hand out commercial driving licenses. 

These lapses have prompted legislators to demand an audit, but DMV boss Jean Shiomoto is opposed. “Any audit you have to pull a lot of documents,” she told reporters. “It would strain our resources.” Shiomoto is requesting an additional $26 million to hire 400 new employees, but she announced no new policy of dismissing those employees who sleep on the job for extended periods over a span of four years. According to insiders, this sort of sloth is common. Until the DMV starts showing deadbeats the door, a ballpark figure for additional funds should be zero. Legislators should conduct the audit whether or not Shiomoto wants it, and if she resists they should show her the door without delay. 

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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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