Friday, August 04, 2006

Gov. Daniels Apologizes for BMV Woes

In a rare move, Gov. Mitch Daniels is issuing an apology to BMV customers for the problems they've experienced at the BMV. The Star's Mary Beth Schneider writes:

Gov. Mitch Daniels has sent a letter to Hoosier motorists apologizing for the problems they've experienced at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Thousands of people have had difficulty completing transactions at the BMV, waiting hours or even days, since the agency switched to a new computer system over the July 4 holiday weekend.

Daniels said the letter has gone to anyone his office was aware of that has experienced those frustrating delays.

"Let me begin with a personal apology to you and anyone who was inconvenienced during the most recent conversion of BMV computers to a new system," Daniels states in the letter he personally drafted. "While this is perhaps the most complex and difficult systems installation any state agency has ever attempted, the extent of disruption and delay was inexcusable. As it happened in the administration I lead, the responsibility ultimately rests with me and I accept it fully."

In the letter, Daniels outlines some of the BMV's checkered past, including the illegal issuance of licenses to non-citizens ineligible to obtain them, and also the fact that the computer switch began, and was paid for, long before his administration took office.

"Nonetheless, our team should have found some way to manage around this bad situation and, since we decided to activate the conversion, we are accountable for any problems," he wrote.

For the first time, Gov. Daniels passed on a vote of confidence for Commissioner Joel Silverman. Daniels took the unusual step of overruling Silverman and ordering the agency to waive late fees which Silverman had insisted customers must pay, and to refund any late fees it had already levied on BMV customers. Schneider writes of Daniels lack of support for Silverman:

Daniels on Thursday backed off of his initial support of Silverman saying that the agency's leadership may face repercussions. Today, meeting with reporters in his office, Daniels paused when asked if he still supported Silverman, and said he had nothing new to say.

Doesn't look like Silverman has a bright future with the administration.

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