The State Worker

DMV workers could see job changes — and more pay — in Gavin Newsom’s plan

‘The technology is Byzantine.’ Gov. Newsom on how DMV needs to change

Gov. Gavin Newsom talks about how California's Department of Motor Vehicles needs to change during a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Behind him at left is the new director of the DMV, Steve Gordon.
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Gov. Gavin Newsom talks about how California's Department of Motor Vehicles needs to change during a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Behind him at left is the new director of the DMV, Steve Gordon.

Tucked in a new report from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office is a call to change how Department of Motor Vehicles offices are staffed and to formally recognize the unique challenges of working for the DMV.

The report from Newsom’s DMV “strike team,” published Tuesday, highlighted increasing delays at the department’s field offices and looked at ways to make the department more efficient.

The report said most DMV workers are classified as office technicians, a title that doesn’t capture the “breadth and in-depth knowledge of the variety of services DMV offers its customers.”

By reclassifying the jobs — an involved and lengthy process in state government that sometimes leads to salary adjustments — the department could offer more opportunities for promotion and improve hiring and retention, according to the report.

Last year, the state opted to reclassify IT jobs, collapsing 36 different job titles into nine in the interest of modernizing job descriptions. The changes affected some 10,000 California public employees.

Dozens of state IT workers and SEIU Local 1000 union officials crowded the State Personnel Board office where a vote on the change took place, illustrating the significance of such classification changes.

Government Operations Agency spokesman Jacob Roper said the office hasn’t begun the reclassification process, just that it is a “recommendation for the DMV to pursue in the future.”

Government Operations Agency Secretary Marybel Batjer since 2014 has pushed the state to cull unused job titles from its records and to revise outdated job descriptions. She led Newsom’s DMV strike team.

The report also says the DMV’s ability to staff offices suffers from requirements to submit budget change proposals every year with estimates for staffing needs at offices.

“Rather than being locked into a fixed staffing plan each year that in all likelihood is outdated one to two months after being released, the DMV needs to be able to utilize incremental funding provided to either run overtime, hire permanent intermittent employees, or establish full-time permanent employees at any field office locations where workload changes occur,” the report states.

“The Strike Team has worked with external experts and the DMV to build detailed staffing optimization analytics to ensure that the organization could act on deploying more dynamic staffing in (a) way that meets customer expectations while appropriately managing the employee experience,” the report states.

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