BMVs nationwide are the punchlines for sitcoms. They aren’t quite to the level of “lawyer jokes”, but they are everyone’s favorite punching bad (with the Post Office running neck and neck). I suppose it’s easy to make fun of a problem and a lot more difficult to come up with solutions. So I thought I would actually put some thought into looking at what some of the BMV’s true problems are as well what some viable solutions might be (though I don’t think people have given my turn them into branch casinos idea a fair shake).

Our local paper offered some solutions: Privatizing its operations might be a good start. Allowing auto dealers, insurance agents, motor clubs or bank branches to handle title work, vehicle registrations and license plate renewals could help. These options are just scratching the surface.

We ought to bring back as many electronic transactions as we can and put together a system we can put our faith into. Most of the problem starts with PR. A few years ago, the BMV generated their own press. If there were problems, it tried to let folks know in advance rather than an “oops” after the fact. A proactive press liaison, actually making what they are worth, not state pay (more on that later) would be worth their weight in gold. They could let people know:

-In our fervor to lengthen licensing time, we overlooked some unintended consequences. When licenses expired after four years, we had the option to renew our driver’s licenses online one time, thus making it eight years between on site visits to the license branch. Because we switched to six year licenses, our politicians decided that 12 years was too long between photo updates and thus eliminated our online license renewal. Thus, we have to come in every six years.

-Closing of various license branches around the state was a good idea. I know it inconvenienced some, but the BMV, under constant pressure to save money and run more efficiently, lost money on those all the time. Some branches were open only half a day once a week, but rent had to be paid on the building year round.

-They could say, “hey, we’re not ready yet. Our new computer system is crap and our people aren’t trained on them yet.”

The BMV could actually give their employees incentives. Let’s face it, you get what you pay for and nothing moves slower than unmotivated government (bureaucratic) employees. Too many times, government workers are folks who couldn’t get hired anywhere else (or are biding their time to get back into the private sector) and don’t want to work hard. Those who do hustle and bust their behinds aren’t rewarded. In fact, they get the workload of three other people’s jobs, their vacations during June and July cancelled, all in the name of efficiency.

Part of the problem is a matter of an arrogant attitude. Many times, the BMV operates in ways “because it can”/“screw you” attitude. A spirit of hubris extending from the top down of their “family friendly” leadership.

Maybe our paper is onto something. The less government is involved in the process, the better off we seem to be. The BMV is never going to be beloved. If it can’t be feared, like the IRS, then it could at least minimize our hatred of it by staying out of the press with SNAFU after SNAFU.

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