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California DMV Director Says Agency Didn't Make A Mistake Responding To Long Wait Times

Richard Vogel / AP Photo

People line up at the California Department of Motor Vehicles prior to opening in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018.

Richard Vogel / AP Photo

The director of California's Department of Motor Vehicles said she doesn't believe the agency made a mistake in dealing with long wait times throughout the state.

While standing inside the Sacramento field office Thursday, DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said her agency shouldn’t be faulted for long wait times. The department has come under fire for wait times approaching eight hours at some offices.

“We probably underestimated the number of resources that we needed,” Shiomoto said. “So that’s not – I wouldn’t characterize that as a mistake. It was just we were seeing more customers than we anticipated all at once.”

Lawmakers are offering the department more money to relieve long customer wait times.

The DMV has already received $16 million in emergency funding to hire more employees. A bill passed Wednesday by the Assembly would put Gov. Jerry Brown's administration in charge of deciding how much money the DMV should receive, subject to approval by a legislative committee.

Some lawmakers say the DMV doesn’t need more money and should be audited. Shiomoto has opposed an audit of her agency, and said the DMV is making improvements.

The Senate has until Friday to approve the bill and send it on to Gov. Brown.

Nadine Sebai

Former Temporary State Government Reporter

Nadine Sebai was Capital Public Radio’s temporary state government reporter. Nadine is also a co-editor of Local Matters, a weekly newsletter showcasing investigative and watchdog news stories from local publications across the country.  Read Full Bio 

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