Wednesday, February 12, 2020

SOS Touts DMV Plan

Secretary of State Michael Watson issued the following statement.


Secretary of State Michael Watson announced upcoming legislation regarding a proposal to transfer functions of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to the Secretary of State’s Office. The “SIP Plan”, which stands for Service, Information and Professionalism, provides a roadmap to improve the way Mississippians get or renew their driver’s licenses.

The SIP Plan includes a list of proposals aimed to increase DMV efficiency, accessibility and the use of technology. Key changes include an opt-in renewal notification system, a digital license option, an updated user-friendly website, and an increase in the number of locations and functions of kiosks. The SIP Plan also focuses on outsourcing certain operations, such as the written and driven components of testing for both new drivers and Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL). Secretary Watson believes the CDL portion of the proposal would give Mississippi trucking companies a competitive edge nationwide, and would help bring more jobs to Mississippi.

Currently, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) is responsible for all driver’s license services. Secretary Watson, Senator David Parker, and Representative Lee Yancey are in the final stages of drafting the bill that will encourage the legislature to transfer the DMV to the Secretary of State’s Office.

“As I promised the voters of Mississippi, I’m proud to roll out our plan to revamp the DMV under our office,” said Secretary Watson. “The fine men and women in the Secretary of State’s Office have an exemplary record of handling administrative/clerical functions by bringing automation and top-notch customer service to the table, and I believe tasking our team with an overhaul of the DMV would yield the same results. I also think it is important to note that our plan relieves the brave men and women charged with keeping us safe from this administrative/clerical duty with which they are burdened, and allows them to focus on their core function of protecting all Mississippians.”

The transition from DPS to the Secretary of State’s Office creates opportunity for shorter wait times and more efficient services. For more information on the SIP Plan, visit sos.ms.gov.


40 comments:

Anonymous said...

What else can we take from MHP/DPS...

Anonymous said...

What a joke.

I like Watson, and I think he will be a much better than former SOS Hosemann.

But this idea is not one of his best - in fact, it is probably his worse idea.

To think he can "fix" the problem with issuing licenses by moving them to his office - which does not have offices scattered throughout the state, or employees in those non-existent offices, shows a naive belief in his campaign advisor who has a client that wants to run this program.

The fact that the former administration at DPS didn't put the proper priority on this function does not mean that it doesn't belong at DPS - let's see what Reeves does first about the management at DPS before we start into something whose primary purpose is to cover a lobbyist's (who happens to be a college buddy as well) client so they can make money is not good conservative government.

Have yet to hear from Watson why he thinks that the SOS is an appropriate place to issue these licenses, other than he wants to do it. Surely there are plenty of existing functions in his office that need fixing before he takes on a major restructuring program like this.

Cynical Sam said...

This can only improve the existing SNAFU, and would hopefully remove MHP officers from clerical positions and place them where they belong, i.e. enforcement duties, including ticketing those many jackwagons who run red lights.

Anonymous said...

Gotta expand the role of the office! More power... more government!

Anonymous said...

Can I vote for Michael Watson for President?

Anonymous said...

Already dead...Gunn announced his intention to kill the proposal in the House today. I suppose he does not want to upset the DPS apple cart (and the troopers assigned to drive him around like he's a celebrity). Once again, Mississippi cannot get out of the way of itself and will continue to have the worst DMV services in the country.

Let's see what Gunn does to improve Driver Services...

Anonymous said...

So transfer it from one govt bureaucracy to another? No thanks. Just privatize it.

Anonymous said...

It appears Da Speakuh is opposed to the move, which will kill the House bill in committee before it ever sees the light of the full floor.

Anonymous said...

Gotta be better than what it is now.

Anonymous said...

Yawn....
Why is this news again?

Anonymous said...

Watson couldn’t possibly do any worse than DPS

Anonymous said...

Let's hope SOS also takes of the issuing of Firearms Permits. DPS hates this duty and have made no bones about it. I have experienced the horrors of renewing my DL, but getting, renewing or makes address changes to a Firearms Permit is ten times worse. One or two days a week is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

2 weeks ago I took my daughter to the DL station on Woodrow Wilson. 4:00 one afternoon and the waiting room was maybe 1/4 full. We were in and out of there in 10 minutes. When I commented to the agent who waited on us that I had never seen the place that empty before, she said it was because they had implemented the reservation system. At least at that time in that location they sure seemed to have fixed the problem.

Anonymous said...

It's "news" because Watson can now say he fulfilled his campaign promise....but it was the POS speaker Gunn who shot it down. Pure politics at its best. Nobody can bitch to Watson on the matter anymore...and he knows it.

Anonymous said...

It all ties back to DPS getting a funding cut. What gets the legislature's attention is not fewer HP Officers issuing tickets. What gets their attention is long lines of citizens trying to get their licenses. No one is going to complain about not getting a ticket.

Anonymous said...

DPS is in the office of the Governor and since Phil couldn’t and Tate won’t fix it might as well give Watson a shot.

Anonymous said...

Awful idea. I definitely do not want Chris McDaniel people being hired to work in driver's license offices all over the state.

Anonymous said...

Whoever issues driver’s license need to make sure they keep issuing special driver’s licenses to legislators. LEO need to know they are dealing with a very important person. Of course before hand, the officer needs to check ones window to see if one has a special decal denoting ones special status, legislator, judge, etc. Like LEOs these people can not be held responsible to follow the law just because they make it or interpret it.

Anonymous said...

Any move that takes responsibility away from troopers (other than their stated mission) is alright with me.

Anonymous said...

If they know how to fix it, why don't they just fix it? The cost to entirely re-tool the DMV in the image of a different agency has got to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Anonymous said...

For all the Josh promoters, there are a lot of ways to make this "much better than it is now" without this proposed power grab and expansion of government.

Yes - take the troopers out of clerical positions; put them on the road (which they don't want to do, but that's not their call.) Yes, privatize much of the system. Yes, improve the technology.

But hell no - don't move this function to an office whose purpose is to file documents. The SOS is a Secretary, not all this other crap that Hosemann tried to take over (since he wanted to be in charge of all government, and all he could get was defunct cemetaries and copper theft) - and this idea is nothing more than trying to move this business to a preferred contributor.

Tater is the new honcho over DPS - gotta give him a chance to fix the mess that Josh's previous client left him. Ain't no need to start rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic yet.

Is DPS DL process a mess? Absolutely. Fix it. Some of these same concepts can be applied just as easily where they are if the Commish wants to do it, and if given the proper funding to make the changes. But to try to add more shit into an office that should be eliminated except in name only is worse than stupid.

Glad to hear that Gunn is stepping up to the plate and putting a stop to some of the crap that is being proposed across the other side of the building.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that Watson does not plan to move to Jackson while serving as SOS?

Anonymous said...

Sipping now but he''ll be trying to gulp later.

Anonymous said...

SOS DMV plan is DOA

Anonymous said...

There are some good ideas here.

But how is Watson going to get the employees pay raises when they are at $7.25?

Anonymous said...

Licensing and registration (vehicles, voters, gun permits or otherwise) should not be the purview of MHP. Their job is catching speeders, not deciding who drives. It's broke. Fix it.

Who is Josh?

Anonymous said...

Gunn is beholden to law enforcement. Not a terrible thing in itself, until "law enforcement" decides its territory is being encroached upon, leading to calls for decreased funding. That's all this is about. DPS protecting its turf and legislators too chicken shit out of fear of public perception if DPS turns on them.

As I stated earlier, there is NO WAY that Watson could do a worse job than DPS with the DL function.

Anonymous said...

Just privatize it all 2:15. Those people running the for profit prisons have it all figured out. Just turn it all over to them.

Anonymous said...

Information the public needs to know (and if you don't believe me, the next time you see your rep or senator, ask to see their driver license). If you are in the Mississippi Legislature, you get a special, red driver license so that law enforcement will know that you are set apart when they pull you over for speeding or DUI. They have quick directly placed themselves above the law. This is also why MHP typically gets what they want, like getting to keep troopers running driver services. They know the secrets, they keep track of whom they pull over for DUI and let go or drive home, and the legislature knows it. It is a devious quid pro quo.

Anonymous said...

@8:34, so the move to SOS would improve transparency and accountability of our public servants.

Anonymous said...

@9:29 Yep...the move would lessen the leverage that DPS has on the legislature. The legislature would also potentially lose some of the privileges that they enjoy in being able to avoid the laws that you and I must adhere to in the state. Also, troopers working in Driver Services would have to go back to the road. In short, the quid pro quo would end.

It should also be noted that Gunn, for some unknown reason, has at least two troopers assigned to him to drive him around and "protect" him in a Tahoe paid for by the tax payer with gas paid for by the tax payer.

I wish Kingfish would drop a public records request on the salaries and overtime associated with his executive protection detail, along with the cost of the vehicle and gas.

Obviously, the MHP has been in Gunn's ear about the matter and likely some members of the legislature as well.

Michael Watson might not make the DMV any better, but I don't think he could make it worse. As such, worst case scenario, the DMV moves to SOS Office and 40-50 troopers are put back on the road doing the job they were hired to do in the first place. Seems like a win to me.

Anonymous said...

None of the obese women at the counters are troopers. Could they be moved to janitorial duty.

Anonymous said...

If DL Services left DPS, where would the highway patrol hide the all troopers they should have already fired?

Anonymous said...

6:14 - other than your hatred for him, what makes you claim that "Tate won't" fix it?

He has started toward fixing it - 'retired' Fisher. Looking for a Commissioner that will get rid of the crap that has carried DPS down the drain the past eight years.

Watson's plan requires a massively increased spending level - something that Fisher (nor any of his predecessors) received. Hell, I could run that division if I got the funding that Watson's proposal requires. And I wouldn't have to hire his buddy Josh's client to run the program, but could get a private company on a good competitive bid.

Anonymous said...

10:19 - if you believe that the 'red letter' licenses would not still be issued to legislators under a move of this division to the SOS, you are more crazy than your entire comment leads one to believe. This action was not a unilateral (or recent) decision of DPS, its been in place for at least fifty years. And it was put in place by the legislature, not the drivers services bureau at DPS.

Just how is Watson in his infinite wisdom and abilities going to issues offices out of the SOS facilities? The lines at the front door of the Ladner Building will be long; of course, they can also use the expansive offices that Dilbert created in Capitol Towers as well. But what are those poor drivers in Attala County going to do to get a license?

Of course - Watson will create several local offices of the Secretary of State. And how will he staff those offices? With cronies from his (and Josh's) political network. Cost savings? Those existing DPS employees will not lose their jobs - yes, the troopers might have to get back on the highway which is a good thing. But those state employee clerical workers aren't going away because Michael is now in charge. So the total cost can increase multi-fold times.

There are simple answers to making the issuance easier and more efficient, and some have been implemented. Privatize most of the functions and more can be done, which is all Watson is proposing - but that takes more money. Money that the teachers want; and money that state employees want; and money that Medicaid expansionists want; and on, and on, and on......

Glad Gunn has more sense than you, and I trust Reeves is paying attention and addresses ways to improve the process at his DPS.

Anonymous said...

I’m with1019. Why are troopers assigned to drive the speaker around? (Or the AG for that matter)

Anonymous said...

At 10:19 and 5:14.. from what I’m told troopers don’t get paid overtime. You would be surprised and what extremist from all parties would do because they don’t get their way or agree with certain stances. Death threats are made to political figures every day. I can say with certainty that the both of you would have some comfort knowing you are protected after receiving threats.

Anonymous said...

State employees (troopers included) are allowed to accumulate comp time, legally. That's not true of non-exempt employees in the private sector who must be paid overtime for hours in a workweek in excess of 40.

That said, troopers can accumulate hundreds of hours of comp time, never touching their sick or personal days and then use that untaken leave reserve toward years of service at PERS retirement time. Same is true of all state employees, including elected officials and exempt folks working in these jobs.

You folks wanta bitch about something in the PERS empire, imagine the hundreds of thousands of hours of untaken leave those people are using to add to service years, boosting their retirement. 11,712 hours of untaken leave time converts to exactly SIX YEARS of service credit at retirement. You think Lynn Fitch takes sic or personal days when she misses work?

Anonymous said...

901 you missed the point. Why does it have to be MHP. Isn’t there law enforcement officers at the AGs office? Capitol Police at the Capitol? Why can’t they do it?

Anonymous said...

@9;37–Get your facts straight. Elected officials don't get sick, vacation or comp pay. They get canned in the next election cycle if they don't have voter approval.I don’t think you are right also about comp time or sick leave counting for state and local employees and most have a cap on accumulated vacation leave.Please give an example of who received 6 years of service credit. So take your hate on for Lynn and go get your facts straight. I hear there is a sale on at Walmart for Cheetos and a Judge Judy Marathon is available on Showtime—have a good day.

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