This morning the News-Times is reporting that Governor Malloy is planning to close the Danbury office of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
This closure is in conjunction with a host of DMV closings across the state. According to the paper, staff will be notified today or tomorrow of the impending closure.
Would the closing of our DMV office be a bad thing? In the short term, absolutely. Danbury has become an economic engine of the state that dwarfs most communities. Driving to Waterbury to get your car registered might be a pain in the neck for our residents, but it will be an absolute economic drag on our local businesses and many of our auto related businesses.
Long-term there may be some positive outcomes of widespread DMV closures. Privatizing the front office operations through a vendor (for example, AAA) and leaving the back office operations to state employees could save millions in labor costs- and still give us a local office.
Moving a lot of the basic functions to the cloud and allowing residents to access services through the web would lower labor costs as well.
But, all of these changes would have to be part of a much larger system wide reorganization. Not just in random closures in response to a failed negotiating strategy.
Do I really think that the Governor is going to shut down the Danbury DMV?
Probably not. The positioning of a possible closure is just a way for the Malloy administration to put more pressure on the state employee unions who have rejected the initial “concession” package.
Lots of unhappy taxpayers and unhappy residents who use the service mean more pressure on the union leadership and its members to figure out a way to unwind the recent rejection.
Don’t worry yet people, this is just an opening gambit to turn up the heat on the unions.
To be continued….