Commissioner: OMV aims to cut wait times

BATON ROUGE (AP) — The commissioner of the Office of Motor Vehicles says he is visiting all 82 offices statewide as part of a bid to improve efficiency.

The Advocate reported Stephen Campbell, who took the job earlier this year, made the comment in response to criticism about wait times in central Louisiana.

State Rep. Terry Brown, of Colfax, said he has gotten reports of constituents waiting for two or three hours to deal with driver's license changes.

"That is not acceptable," Brown said.

Campbell agreed.

"I will tell you of course that is not acceptable," Campbell said.

The issue surfaced during a meeting of the state House and Senate transportation committees.

Campbell said his agency is already undergoing a review of systems to improve efficiency, with good results. "In a majority of cases we have reduced wait time," he said.

Campbell said an Office of Motor Vehicles office in Metairie was recently the subject of a critical story by a New Orleans television station.

He said that office "is at times a zoo," in part because it is forced to handle lots more customers since Hurricane Katrina.

Campbell said steps are under way to solve that problem.

However, he said his office is "painfully aware" that at times 30 customers are in line when offices open at 8 a.m.

Brown said he was told that Office of Motor Vehicles employees sometimes take lunch breaks after locking the doors.

He said the offices sometimes lack the manpower to handle the workload.

State Rep. Terry Landry, of Lafayette, said the Office of Motor Vehicles used to be the target of more complaints, which he said have been reduced because of online services and other steps.