Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday directed the California Government Operations Agency Secretary, Marybel Batjer, to lead "a comprehensive modernization and reinvention of the much maligned California Department of Motor Vehicles." Batjer's will chair a new "DMV Reinvention Strike Team. The team is expected to make recommendations for new long-term leadership and reform at DMV with an emphasis on transparency, worker performance, speed of service and overall consumer satisfaction in six months.
In addition, Governor Newsom has ordered an preliminary review of the the independent audit of DMV being conducted by the Department of Finance which was initiated by Governor Brown late last year. That review will take place in the next 30 days.
"By any metric, California DMV has been chronically mismanaged and failed in its fundamental mission to the customers it serves and the state workers it employs,"said Governor Newsom. "It's time for a reinvention and I’m grateful to Secretary Batjer for agreeing to take on this tremendous responsibility on behalf of California taxpayers.”
Batjer has previously overseen the overhaul of numerous state operations, including procurement, real estate, and human resources. Prior to her appointment to the CGOA, Batjer served as the vice president of public policy and corporate social responsibility for Caesars Entertainment Corporation. Before that, she was Cabinet Secretary to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chief of Staff to Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn, Undersecretary of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency and Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
During her leadership of the Strike Team, Batjer will continue her work with the CGOA.
Among the recent problems for the DMV is the so-called "motor voter" program which was designed to make it possible for Californians to register to vote during when doing business with the department. However, it was revealed that approximately 23,000 people were registered to vote incorrectly by DMV.
Department officials insist that no non-citizens were given the ability to vote while applying for a special driver's license specific to California. That led to criticism by Secretary of State Alex Padilla. "I applaud Governor Newsom for making leadership change at the DMV a top priority, and creating a new DMV Reinvention Strike Team during his first week in office."