Gov. Phil Murphy announced increased hours and guaranteed staffing levels at the Motor Vehicle Commission after the agency was inundated with patrons after resuming most in-person operations on Tuesday.
“You’re upset about this? So am I, and frankly, so is Chief Administrator Sue Fulton,” Murphy said during Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing. “She recognizes this as well and is committed to meeting the needs of our residents and motorists. We are going to work harder and work better to deliver a better experience.”
MVC locations across the state were inundated by hours-long lines in sweltering heat Tuesday, drawing outcry from residents and lawmakers.
The agency suspended most of its services on March 15. It resumed some drop-off and pick-up services in mid-June and began conducting road tests and vehicle inspections on June 29.
The commission will also begin operating six days a week, a turnabout from a reopening plan that would have closed MVC facilities around the state for sanitation on Mondays.
Facilities will still be closed this Saturday, but it will operate from Monday to Saturday starting next week.
Agency employees will be exempt from furloughs affecting some public workers.
“We need to have literally every hand on deck every day, serving the public,” he said.
The governor urged residents to see if their motor-vehicle related business could be conducted online before heading to the infamous agency. Some licenses and other documents can be renewed online.
“before you make the trip to an agency, visit NJMVC.gov,” Murphy said.
The MVC’s recent troubles have drawn fire from Republicans, including one who is running for Murphy’s seat.
“Unfortunately, this type of mismanagement comes as no surprise from an administration that asks us to trust government more and more and yet can’t protect seniors in nursing homes; can’t get benefits to the unemployed; can’t balance the budget; can’t get small businesses open; and now can’t even get licenses renewed,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli said.
This article was updated with comment from Ciattarelli at 5:55 p.m.