30 DMV workers ordered to work on furlough Friday

January 8, 2010 4:46:03 PM PST
California's effort to save money by furloughing workers is showing signs of coming apart. More than two dozen Department of Motor Vehicle workers have been ordered to work on their furlough Fridays to deal with a huge backlog.

Every DMV office in the state remains closed today. The 30 or so people that have ordered to work on their furlough days are at the DMV headquarters in Sacramento. They are issuing and processing driver's licenses.

Truck driver Miroslav Ellner came to the DMV in San Francisco on Friday desperately needing to renew his driver's license. Without a license he can't make a living.

"Every time I come something is happening," he said. "The lines are too long or it's closed for three Fridays now. So it kind of sets me back."

There are many more people in Ellner's situation. The DMV issues more than 1.1 million driver's licenses and 500,000 ID cards per year. Last month, to take care of a backlog of work caused by furlough Fridays plus all the recent holidays, the DMV asked employees to volunteer to work Saturdays in exchange for a day off down the road. However, not enough people signed up.

So now 30 or so DMV employees in Sacramento are required to work every Friday in exchange for mutually agreeable furlough days later on.

"Typically we get out our licenses and identification cards within seven to 10 days," Mike Morando with DMV said. "With the furloughs and the backlog, an additional week to 10 days has been pretty much the norm."

That is something that just does not sit well with some people.

"Then I guess I'm going to get a ticket when I get pulled over because I've got to go to work," Truck driver Rudy Behar said. "It's unbelievable. What about us? How can I get my ID? My driver's license expired."

DMV suggests taking care of renewals and requests as soon as possible. They have even sent out renewal notices two months ahead of time to help people out. The best advice though is to use the DMV website where many issues can be handled without having to go to an office in person.