Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is hoping the nomination of a new leadership team with experience in both the public and private sector will help modernize the Department of Motor Vehicles.
On Wednesday, Malloy nominated Michael Bzdyra of Wallingford as commissioner and Judeen Wrinn of Middletown as deputy commissioner.
Former Commissioner Andres Ayala resigned in January following criticism over the implementation of a new computer system, which led to the erroneous suspension of vehicle registrations.
Bzdyra, who is currently the deputy commissioner, has been with the DMV since 2011 and prior to that he worked as a government liaison for the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority. Wrinn recently worked for Voya Financial, Inc. as the company’s Chief Operations Officer for Retirement Business, where she oversaw approximately 1,500 employees.
Malloy believes the combination of Bzdyra’s experience in the public sector blended with Wrinn’s private sector experience turning around systems will be the winning combination the DMV needs to improve customer service and efficiency.
Bzdyra said Wrinn will help the agency improve customer service with “out-of-the-box” thinking and “creative innovative solutions.”
“Change in an agency this large is not easy and poses its challenges,” Bzdyra said. “We are already looking to bring some short-term results to customers soon, as well as other systemic changes.”
Wrinn said she knows nothing about public service and Wednesday’s press conference to announce her nomination was her “very first ever press conference.”
Wrinn spent most of her career focused on customer service and operations.
She said when she was working at the Aetna she was called on to help improve a system that was disconnecting customers after significant wait times because the system cut them off. She said there was a backlog of work and errors because it was a new system.
She said customers were screaming but she didn’t even know how many customers because the tracking she was getting from the new system was so deficient.
“Customers were screaming and the employees were crying, every single day,” Wrinn said.
She said in order to resolve the problems with that system she needed to understand the underlying issues. The problems with that system were resolved with a sense of urgency, a plan, and buy-in from the employees.
She said when she was approached about taking a job at the DMV, the situation felt “eerily familiar.”
The $25-million upgrade to the DMV computer system caused some unforeseen problems, including an unknown number of drivers mistakenly losing their registrations over insurance paperwork.
Malloy proposed legislation, which was revised Tuesday by the Transportation Committee, that seeks to outsource more DMV services. Lawmakers declined to approve part of the legislation that would have allowed individuals to register their vehicles even if they had unpaid taxes.
Malloy said he wants to get the DMV out of the tax collection business, but municipalities believe it would encourage people not to pay their motor vehicle taxes. He said forcing someone to go pay their taxes before they renew their license and registration requires others to wait in line longer and requires that person to make two trips to the DMV. He said he’s willing to work on a compromise that maybe caps the amount of money the DMV collects from individuals for unpaid taxes.
“Our key function is not as bill collector,” Malloy said. “Our key function is public safety.”
Malloy believes if they can take duplicate business out of the line then they can provide an advantage to all of the customers.
“All of the citizens are being punished because a subset of citizens aren’t paying their taxes on time,” Malloy said. “DMV should not be a form of punishment.”