State To Study DMV Operations

JLARC Agency Review Likely To Take A Year

Posted: July 16, 2014

Kevin Coffman, a customer service representative for the Department of Motor Vehicles in Harrisonburg, assists Heather Stalnaker of Mint Springs on Tuesday. The DMV’s operations will be subject to a study by state’s legislative watchdog, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission. (Photo by Preston Knight / DN-R)

HARRISONBURG — Staff for Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission is going where few people want to go: the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The commission met in Richmond on Monday and directed staff to conduct a thorough review of the department’s operations.

The directive is not a reflection on poor performance, but just another “periodic check” state lawmakers run on agencies, said Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave.

Landes serves on the commission, which is composed of nine delegates and five senators.

JLARC staff looks at what agencies have not been studied and the DMV, officials say, has apparently never been reviewed.

The operations and management of the agency will be evaluated, which Landes believes is timely because more is asked of the DMV now than in the past.

For example, recent changes include the department now being in charge of vehicle inspections and enforcing the requirement that tractor-trailers get weighed on interstates, he said.

The department has also shifted some of its services online to relieve pressure at physical locations, Landes notes.

“Just a lot of things, additional responsibility or significant changes in how they do business with taxpayers [prompted a study],” he said. “It probably is a good thing. Look at all their functions: what’s working, what’s not working.”

The review should take about a year.

Staff will present recommendations to the commission, and legislative or budgetary changes for the DMV would then be discussed by the General Assembly, Landes said.

Also Monday, the commission asked staff to investigate how much it would cost and how long it would take to audit the state’s Medicaid system.

Landes and other House Republicans were adamant during the 2014 General Assembly session that an audit be conducted before the health care program could be expanded under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Medicaid expansion, a priority for Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, was a main sticking point during the past session and is likely to remain a hot-button issue.

Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or

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