Executive order from Gov. Youngkin requests review of DMV, VEC

Glenn Youngkin first joint address (January 17).PNG
Posted at 2:07 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 18:28:29-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Gov. Youngkin's Executive Order Number Five requests the newly appointed Chief Transformation Officer conduct a review of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Virginia Employment Commission.

The order was part of a series Youngkin signed on Saturday shortly after taking office.

"The performance of two state agencies, in particular, underscores the necessity of our continued pursuit of improvement in our government. In recent years, the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) have fallen short of performing at the high standard set by our citizens," the order says.

News 3 has reported on issues at the DMV and VEC in recent months. A Hampton man recently spoke with News 3 about his difficulties in filing claims.

Weeks later, Derick Williamson says the issue is unresolved.

"It's definitely not resolved. I have no idea when it's going to be resolved," Williamson told News 3 on Wednesday.

Williamson thinks the VEC needs to streamline the application process and give staff more leeway to help resolve issues.

"Man, they have so much to improve on. Like I said, they need to empower their people," he said.

Around 1.7 million people have filed unemployment claims in Virginia since the start of the pandemic. A recent report from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission found VEC is underfunded, understaffed, and didn't have good enough technology to keep up with all the claims.

Fraud has also been an issue. The same report found VEC paid out more than $90 million in fraudulent claims in 2020 and the beginning of 2021.

Recently, News 3 reported on a local woman who says her identity was stolen and people made fraudulent VEC claims under her name.

Sheryl Little says tried to notify VEC about the fraud, but didn't get a response until News 3 began investigating her case.

Little thinks VEC can provide "better communication via telephone, via email, via text, somehow. At least acknowledge the person's request for an investigation."

The head of the VEC recently departed her position.

News 3 also recently investigated long wait times at DMV offices in Hampton Roads with some waiting more than 75-minutes inside offices and even longer outside.

On Wednesday, a reporter visited two locations and found no waits. More walk-in appointment availability appears to have helped.

"Right now, you can walk straight in and there's nothing to complain about," said Nigel Davis, who visited an office in Virginia Beach.

Youngkin is vowing to fix the agencies.

"The performance of the state government should be measured by the satisfaction of its citizens. And when government fails to meet the needs of its citizens, it is the duty of the Chief Executive Officer to hear these complaints, duly consider their merits, and produce speedy reforms," Youngkin's order says.