Longtime DMV employee named as agency’s acting director

California

California’s troubled Department of Motor Vehicles will get a new leader Dec. 31.

Gov. Jerry Brown has designated Bill Davidson as acting director. Davidson has served as the DMV’s chief deputy director since 2016 and has worked at the agency for 16 years. He’s also worked for the California State Transportation Agency.

The Monday announcement comes after director Jean Shiomoto announced plans to retire at the end of the year.

Shiomoto’s departure follows a tumultuous year for the DMV that included hours-long lines at offices across the state and a series of errors related to the state’s automatic voter registration program.

“I’m not surprised because of the catalog of issues Californians have had to endure,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno.)

Lawmakers like Patterson have criticized the department for its technology outages and issues with voter registration.

“There’s got to be people who have had real world experiences in operating a system with this much technological challenges and with this much touch to the general public,” Patterson said. “Let’s hope this is the beginning of a DMV we can trust again.”

Last week, Secretary of State Alex Padilla wrote a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown and Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom saying he had lost confidence in the director and urged them to appoint a new department leader.

However, according to a letter provided by the DMV, Shiomoto had already notified the governor Dec. 7 that she planned to retire.

Shiomoto’s last day is Dec. 30. 

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