Governor Newsom orders 'strike team' to help reinvent California's marred DMV

Posted at 3:48 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 18:48:17-05

(AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom is launching an effort to modernize the state's embattled Department of Motor Vehicles.

Newsom on Wednesday appointed Marybel Batjer to lead a "strike team" focused on finding new DMV leadership and recommending reforms to improve service. Batjer is the secretary of the state government operations agency and will retain that job during her six-month role at the DMV.

The DMV has been under fire for long lines and voter registration errors. It's under a state audit. Its former director, Jean Shiomoto, retired last month.

Newsom says the agency has been "chronically mismanaged" and is failing in its mission to serve customers.

The state has tried to ease wait times by installing self-service kiosks for various DMV-related tasks at local grocery stores and even instituting Saturday service at select locations. Still. the agency has faced continued criticism for its inefficiencies.

Frustrations mounted after news that state lawmakers were able to utilize a private DMV office from the issue-plagued departments residents used.

Newsom didn't announce an expected price tag for modernizing the agency.