Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Kathy's Inferno

As Virgil and Dante climbed the bristling fur of Satan’s back, neither man took notice of a strange fluorescent hue beaming from an obscure corner ninth and most sinister circle of hell. Nestled among the most vile of traitors encased in the frozen Cocytus sat the Wilton branch of Department of Motor Vehicles at its “newer” location in the Mall.

True, there aren’t too many DMV locations that motorists can visit and leave with a satisfied and content feeling; some of the Long Island branches are hellish enough to convince even the staunchest of atheists that the netherworld indeed exists. Still, there’s an icy layer of bureaucracy now operating at this once cozy office that is astonishing even for a frigid operation like Motor Vehicles.

Customer service, easier accessibility and more space were among the main selling points County Clerk Kathy Marchione offered for the $250,000 relocation. Move nearer to the Northway and the will office will be easier to reach. And more space means more room for tellers, more tellers means quicker service. Quicker service means more smiles among the driving public, right?

Wrong-o, Kathy.

Even if there isn’t a line, or even an indication that one might form, you're ordered to take a number, grab a seat until your number is bellowed out by the commandant up front. If you happen to forget to fill a form or check a box? Well, you’ll have to get back on line at the information desk, grab another number and wait for the call. And whatever you do, don't make small talk with the frowning clerk, lest you break their concentration and throw the whole process off.

All this is compounded by the fact that the mall’s owners feel fit to play musical storefronts with the DMV at the drop of a hat. Undoubtedly, they knew the office would be moved to make way for an expansion of J.C. Penney before the county signed a lease. Now instead of being located centrally by the mall's main entrance, DMV has reappeared at a remote location near Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Those visiting the DMV can now battle traffic snarls along Route 50, park half a mile away from the office during heavy shopping times and then wonder if the mall’s owner will arbitrarily decide to move the office to a different corner of the sprawling commercial plaza. Why? Because every contract with the mall stipulates they can move an office if they have another store coming in and need the space, Marchione explained to the Daily Gazette late last month.

In theory, the mall’s management could move the DMV down the anonymous corridor leading to the food courtbathrooms and the county could do little to stop them, other than void their $56,250-per-year lease after the next nine years pass. But look on the bright side, the county clerk insists; at least the new “new” location has an additional 300-square-feet with which the county can further expand DMV’s bureaucracy.

For those chagrined by the last year of changes, look on the bright side: it gives the county ample opportunity for another “grand opening” in February. That’s one to mark on the calendars. So bust out the streamers, get the champagne on ice and alert John Gray. The DMV is ready to christen in their new digs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the real question is, "When did Kathy know about the move ?" Gosh, her newest announcement came so close at the close of elections....big surprise, NOT !
Just how much was the rent at the orginial location -- Woodlawn Ave. (County owned)building ? Kathy has avoided that issue....among other issues.

3:12 PM  

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