|"Til the livin' end,
when will it ever end?"|
By Bob Weaver
In a scathing report, the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, is a shining example of bloating and out-of-control mis-use of taxpayer money.
WVs "King of Pork," House Finance Chairman Harold Michael (D-Hardy-Pendleton), got a regional office located in his district in Franklin, Pendleton County, one of the state's most rural areas.
The office does so little business, about $900 a day, it doesn't even commence to meet any minimal criteria for operation.
He also has a DMV district office in his other county, Hardy.
Read more about the King of Pork:
King Michael's Drunken Sailor Money
King Michael's Lament
Michael After Manchin's Line Item Veto
Also singled out for inefficiency was the Spencer office, along with Point Pleasant and Welch. Those offices had fewer than 36,000 transactions with $2 million in revenue.
The report did not call for closing regional offices, but does make a number of streamlining suggestions.
A study was released about the DMV last week by a consulting firm, Public Works LLC, hired by the state, and a number of cost-cutting recommendations have resulted.
An earlier report in 2004 by WVU and the Department of Highways issued the same criticisms.
The DMV has created 13 new regional offices, some of them built from the ground up, and increased their workforce from 370 to 548 full-time employees during the past five years.
In a world where computerization is supposed to create efficiency, the agency has increased staff to operate the 22 regional offices.
The report said that 30% of the new hires were in management positions, and calls for eliminating a number of "duplicative" executive jobs, mostly multiple assistants.
The Hur Herald has been critical of eliminating driver's tests at a local State Police barracks, transferring the service to agencies regional offices, sometimes 25-40 miles away.
Further criticism was lodged because the DMV office in Spencer (and likely the others) does not have a listed telephone number, all calls go to a phone bank in Charleston.
Even the toll free number for the DMV is not listed in the local phone book.
In 2001, the City of Spencer dedicated the new $1.5 million city building, made possible by the construction of Spencer's DMV office and the political support of former Delegate Oshel Craigo.
Charleston columnist Phil Kabler commented "If a sharp businessman like Oshel Craigo had a Tudor's Biscuit World doing only $928 per day, he would probably make a prudent decision and close it."
But - its only taxpayer money.
DMV HARD TO REACH BY PHONE, FOR SOME - Earth Folks (Taxpayers) Will Have To Punt
OPINION AND COMMENT By Bob Weaver
We have been told that bigger is better - by merger, regionalization or consolidation.
We like "big" things in America.
Now it seems that the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is a bulging state agency that likely qualifies for the "Taxpayer Inefficiency Award."
Fred Van Kirk, West Virginia's head of the Department of Transportation, says there is focus being put on the DAV because of its escalating budget and hiring more and more personnel.
The problem was brought to the forefront in a WV-DO study released yesterday.
But here on earth, if you live in Calhoun County and would like to call the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles in Spencer to ask a question - you're out'a luck.
There is no phone number for the DMV in the phone book.
Since the DMV have shifted their operations to 21 regional offices, they decided not to publish the phone numbers of those regional offices.
They have built some nice buildings, leased others and hired more people.
Spencer's district manager Steve Donahue says he does not have enough staff to answer phones and provide customer service.
Donahue says customer phone questions are answered by a DMV call center in Charleston which employees 40 people.
The call center can be reached by using a toll-free number.
Unfortunately, the toll-free number for the call center is not listed in the Calhoun phone book.
In the Spencer phone book, after several minutes of searching, the toll-free number was found under the WV Department of Transportation government page listing.
You can reach the local DMV office if you have a source to obtain the insider number.
The DMV has eliminated giving driver's tests at State Police barracks, causing residents of rural counties to generally take a day off work and drive 25-50 miles to a regional office to obtain service.
They said the old system was not cost effective.
The toll free DMV number (40 people at a call center to answer your questions) is 1-800-642-9066.
The Spencer Regional DMV office can be reached at 927-0997.
Don't tell 'em where you got it.