Staff shortage slows service at Garden City DMV

6/15/2013

By RUTH CAMPBELL

By RUTH CAMPBELL

rcampbell@gctelegram.com

With the departure last month of two employees, long lines at the Garden City Motor Vehicle Department's Driver's License office could last for about two months, according to Kansas Department of Revenue Public Information Officer Jeannine Koranda. The office had four staffers.

"We had two people retire or leave, which puts the Garden City office two members down. They did it with fairly short notice," Koranda said. She said it could take about two months to get new staff in because they're handling identity documents, and everyone hired has to pass background checks and undergo training.

The Garden City office is a full-service office, issuing new driver's licenses, conducting driver's license exams and driving tests for passenger and commercial vehicles, among other services. One of the two employees who left used to come to Scott City twice a month to conduct driving tests.

The program was suspended May 31, clerk Danny Wackerla said. Since then, people who come in for driving tests have been referred to driver's license offices in Garden City, Dodge City, Liberal, Colby or Hays. "The only thing we can do now is regular class C renewals since they suspended this program," Wackerla said. "... We don't have anybody to do driver's tests or written tests, so we have to turn for the most part everybody away that comes in. We've been giving them handouts that have all the information for the other places."

"People have been calling us telling us how frustrated they are," Wackerla said.

The examiner from Garden City would come to Scott City twice a month — on the first and third Thursday. June 6 would have been her next date in Scott City.

Wackerla said he's kept a tally of how many people have come in and called that he's had to turn away. Motorists have come from Sharon Springs, Tribune, Dighton and Leoti.

"Between the first of the month and now, I would say we've had to turn away at least 80 people," Wackerla said Thursday.

Anna McPherson, a clerk in the Kearny County Treasurer's Office, said they just do license renewals.

"We have people come over here all the time just so they don't have to deal with Garden City. They take a long time. There are never any lines here because all we do is renewals. Our only problem is we're a limited service (office). We don't do CDLs (commercial driver's licenses) or anything."

Koranda said the long waits are a local issue in Garden City right now.

"This just was a perfect timing of two people," Koranda said.

Summer also is a busy time for driver's license offices because students are out of school and trying to take their tests and obtain licenses.

"Typically, summer is the busiest time. Then if you go in on Tuesday and Friday, those are the two busiest days of the week," Koranda said. "The later you go, the more people have a chance to get in front of you."

She noted that partial service offices can issue ID cards or renew driver's licences. People also may order motor vehicle records, check on the status of a suspended license or change their address online at the Kansas Department of Revenue Web site, www.ksrevenue.org/.

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