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DMV eliminates Saturday hours

The cutback for this month follows the dismissal of 700 employees, or nearly 8% of its workforce, amid budget battle.

August 08, 2008|Rong-Gong Lin II and Evan Halper | Times Staff Writers

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is eliminating its Saturday operating hours this month, another victim of the state budget battle.

Ordinarily, 53 DMV offices are open one Saturday morning every month, which would have fallen on Aug. 16. But the DMV has been grappling with service cuts since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on July 31 ordered the layoff of thousands of part-time employees, limited overtime and imposed a hiring freeze.

Schwarzenegger has said the moves are meant to make sure the state has enough cash to operate through September, because a budget has not been signed. The new fiscal year began July 1.

Customers already are reporting longer lines at some DMV offices, with lines snaking out to the sidewalk. The DMV has dismissed 700 employees throughout the state, or nearly 8% of its workforce.

Department officials say more than 270,000 drivers took advantage of the Saturday service in the last fiscal year.

But DMV spokesman Michael Marando said keeping the offices open Saturdays requires the assistance of roughly 1,000 of the part-time state workers the governor just laid off. It also requires paying full-time employees overtime.

He acknowledged that the absence of Saturday hours probably would increase wait times during the week.

Marando encouraged drivers to schedule appointments online or over the phone before arriving at a DMV field office.

He also suggested that they avoid trips to the field office whenever possible by taking advantage of services such as license and registration renewal and changes of address that can be made on the DMV website.

--

ron.lin@latimes.com

evan.halper@latimes.com

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