MVC computer glitches causing big headaches for drivers
Last week a series of computer glitches left hundreds, and perhaps even thousands of motorists waiting on line for hours, out in the heat, at Motor Vehicle Commission offices around the state.) http://nj1015.com/so-much-for-that-computer-outages-at-mvc-offices-again/)
In response, the head of the New Jersey Assembly Budget Committee is calling on the MVC to create an updated plan of action to modernize the agency’s computer system.
“The Budget Committee and the Assembly has been calling for year after year for a solution, for a plan, and so far, like all the drivers who have been waiting, we’ve got nothing,” said Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic) Chairman of the Budget Committee.
He said in 2008 the MVC began phasing in a system called MATRIX to replace its decades-old system, but MATRIX was plagued with problems and in 2015 the state terminated the system.
“It cost us $21 million for a system of no value, and we had to pay an additional $16.2 million to provide oversight and transition to try to salvage what we could, but we’re learning again and again that the problem has not yet been solved,” he said.
One New Jersey resident stuck waiting for hours last week was New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow. (http://nj1015.com/i-survived-a-3-hour-nj-mvc-wait-and-all-i-got-was-this-lousy-license/)
Schaer said “the buck stops somewhere, and for all of us, as Harry Truman said, it stops on his desk, and in the state of New Jersey, on the Governor’s desk.”
When asked for a response, Brian Murray, a spokesman for the Governor emailed the following message:
"With programs such as "Skip the Trip," which allows thousands of NJ motorists to conveniently renew their car registration without leaving home, the actions of this Administration have vastly improved the accessibility of MVC services. Assemblyman Schaer knows this, but instead seizes every opportunity possible to politicize situations rather than to find solutions. While his continued political rants appear unavoidable, this administration expects to move forward with additional improvements to make the MVC more accountable to the people of New Jersey in the weeks ahead.”
Schaer said there are 49 other states that issue drivers licenses and registrations for cars, so “it doesn’t seem to me brain science to figure out what someone else is doing, find the most successful operation in the 50 states, hopefully the cheapest, and enact it.”
He added “we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we simply need to be committed to it, devise a plan and move forward, but you can’t continue putting bubble gum and scotch tape and hope to solve a problem, you’ve got to come forth with a real plan and so far that has not been forthcoming.”
Schaer stressed the effect of the failure of the MVC to properly deal with this situation is pretty apparent.
“There’s no reason this should be happening, we knew this was not working, we’re trying to solve a problem with gum and scotch tape and whatever and we’re not solving it, and the bottom line is the bottom line,” he said. “The message to MVC is simple, provide us an answer, the people of New Jersey deserve better.”
When asked to respond to Schaer’s comments, Mairin Bellack, director of communications for the MVC said “we’re aggressively moving forward with the Transformation Project.”
She said this approach is “taking small bites out of the apple. It’s dealing with short-term goals that will give us tangible results.”
When asked if the MVC is adequately addressing the situation, Bellack said “we’re taking a different approach, we’re using updated technology, and we’re utilizing our own resources. We have already successfully completed different projects that have saved the state millions of dollars. We have success under our belts, demonstrating this new Project approach is working. We’re working with our own staff and the Office of Information Technology to improve the system one step at a time.”