Gov. Newsom Orders Modernization Project for California DMV

Governor Gavin Newsom took steps on Wednesday to overhaul the California Department of Motor Vehicles, focusing on better transparency, employee performance, speed of service, and overall consumer satisfaction.

Secretary of the California Government Operations Agency Marybel Batjer is seen in this portrait from GovOps.ca.gov.

Secretary of the California Government Operations Agency Marybel Batjer is seen in this portrait from GovOps.ca.gov.

In a written statement, the Governor’s Office announced that California Government Operations Agency Secretary Marybel Batjer will lead the “comprehensive modernization and reinvention” project, which will involve new long-term leadership and reform at the DMV.

The department has become synonymous with inefficiency and hours-long wait times for many Californians. Last year, DMV Director Jean Shiomoto vowed to do better after public complaints prompted a state audit. Shiomoto retired last month.

“By any metric, California DMV has been chronically mismanaged and failed in its fundamental mission to the state customers it serves and the state workers it employs,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “It’s time for a reinvention and I’m grateful to Secretary Batjer for agreeing to take on this tremendous responsibility on behalf of California taxpayers.”

The DMV has also come under fire for mishandling voter registrations

Batjer will serve as Chair of a new DMV Reinvention Strike Team for six months.

The new governor ordered an accelerated review of early findings within 30 days of the independent audit of the DMV, which previous Governor Jerry Brown ordered last year.

Batjer is the first-ever Secretary of the California Government Operations Agency, appointed by Gov. Brown in 2013. That agency oversees state operations including procurement, real estate, information technology, and human resources. She will remain in that role during her time leading the DMV project.