Rep. Kennedy, Sen. Algiere, South County legislators concerned about duration of DMV branch closings
STATE HOUSE — With the news that both the Wakefield and Westerly branch offices of the Division of Motor Vehicles will be closed from May 22 to July 18, Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly) and Senate Minority Leader Dennis L. Algiere (R-Dist. 38, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly), along with the South County legislative delegation, have written a letter to Gov. Gina Raimondo, asking her to reconsider the length of the office closings.
The closing of branch offices is due to the DMV converting its operations to a new computer system beginning on July 1. While all other branches of the DMV in Rhode Island will be closing at the end of business on June 30, only the South County branches will be closed to all business for the entire two months beginning May 22, though the DMV has since announced that the Westerly branch will be open once a week on Fridays until June 30.
“These closings would cause a severe burden to our constituents in southern Rhode Island who are being denied the same level of services that the rest of the state will receive during the computer conversion,” Representative Kennedy and Senator Algiere wrote. “Even though the Narragansett office of AAA will offer free DMV services to non-members, there are still many types of transactions that will not be available to our constituents.”
The South County branches were chosen for a two-month closing based on the fact that they have the lowest traffic count of all the DMV branches.
“We understand the necessity of closures to install the new computer system,” said Representative Kennedy. “But to single out South County when the nearest branches are 45 minutes away — coupled with the wait times that customers can expect — it seems particularly unfair that the branches in South County should be closed for what amounts to two full months or 1/6th of the entire year.”
“While our constituents are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to improve the efficiency of the DMV, it is unfair to ask them to shoulder a greater portion of the burden, simply because of where they live,” said Senator Algiere. “We strongly urge the governor to reconsider the length of time these branches will be closed and come up with a more equitable plan. Where is the shared sacrifice in this plan developed by the State?”
The other signatories on the letter are House Minority Whip Blake A. Filippi (R-Dist. 36, New Shoreham, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly), Sen. Elaine J. Morgan (R-Dist. 34, Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond, West Greenwich), Sen. Mark W. Gee (R-Dist. 35, East Greenwich, Narragansett, North Kingstown, South Kingstown), Rep. Julie Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter), Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown), Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, Narragansett, South Kingstown), Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34 South Kingstown, Narragansett), Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown), Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly), Rep. Justin K. Price (R-Dist. 39, Richmond, Hopkinton, Exeter), Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) and Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Dist. 36, North Kingstown, Narragansett).
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903