(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — State Representative Bryan Terry, MD (R-Murfreesboro) is investigating issues associated with the Driver’s Service Center in Rutherford County, as well as centers across the state. The Tennessee Department of Safety heads up the Driver’s Service Centers across Tennessee. They have been experiencing problems with efficiency and staffing. Terry is working on potential solutions and pushing for DMV reform.
Terry said he has received complaints from citizens who are waiting more than three hours to receive service, and the current appointment wait for road testing in Rutherford County is 28 days — much higher than the state average of 11 days.
“Citizens are experiencing extensive waits at our center both for service during their visit or when scheduling a road test for a driver’s license,” stated Terry. “DMV centers aren’t known for efficiency, but the current situation is completely unacceptable.”
Rutherford County has a driver’s service center located near Middle Tennessee Boulevard. The center provides driving permits, driver’s licenses, road testing, renewals, handgun permits, commercial driver’s licenses, and Real ID. In addition, there are four license renewal kiosks throughout the county, including one in the Rutherford County center. There are 43 similar centers across the state, and they are also facing similar issues related to providing timely and efficient service.
“Currently, there are 29 job vacancies spread across the 44 centers in Tennessee,” explained Terry. “When we in Rutherford County are supposed to have eight and a half full time equivalent employees, but are down to five and a half, it creates major issues. Recently, three additional employees were out for various reasons, and this drops manpower even further.”
Ironically, one factor leading to vacancies is Tennessee’s vibrant economy — especially in our private sector. With private employer wage growth and more opportunities, hiring for positions in the public sector becomes more difficult. The Department of Safety has increased pay, but they are still finding it difficult to fill vacancies. Terry said he has spoken with the Department of Safety, Governor Lee’s administration, Speaker Cameron Sexton, House leadership, and Finance Chairman Susan Lynn about this issue.
“In the past, the Department of Safety has looked to offload workload with either kiosks or transferring services to the County Clerk’s office. They are still looking at those options for the current situation, but it’s going to take a commitment to find manpower solutions,” stated Terry. “Whether there is a float pool of employees to work across various centers or training and utilizing part-time substitutes, the state needs to be thinking outside the box to address this issue for the benefit of our citizens.”
With Tennessee sporting a greater than $600 million surplus and knowing that there is a definite problem that needs to be addressed, Terry said he, the Governor, and our entire General Assembly must view this issue as a priority for all Tennesseans.
Bryan Terry, MD represents Tennessee House District 48, which is the eastern portion of Rutherford County and a portion of Murfreesboro. Terry lives in Murfreesboro and can be reached by email at: [email protected] or by calling (615) 741-2180.