Lawmakers want to revive old computer program to ease DMV lines | NevadaAppeal.com

Lawmakers want to revive old computer program to ease DMV lines

BRENDAN RILEY, Associated Press Writer

CARSON CITY – A new, $35 million-plus computer program at the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety has so many bugs that an old program should be revived temporarily, lawmakers said Tuesday.

That way, long lines at DMV offices around the state might be reduced while debugging of the new ”Genesis” program continues, members of a legislative subcommittee suggested at the end of a three-hour hearing.

Deputy DMV chief Ginny Lewis said at the start of the hearing that turning back wasn’t an option. But at the end, she said it’ll be considered.

Assemblyman Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, a computer consultant chairing the subcommittee, pushed for the revival of the old ”Legacy” system at the DMV, saying Genesis still has more than 300 ”show-stopping, critical bugs.”

The old system ”could be run for a few months,” Beers said. ”It gives you time to resolve the staggering number of problems in the Genesis system.”

Assemblywoman Vonne Chowning, D-North Las Vegas, also pressed for temporary use of the old program, saying the DMV continues to give rosy progress reports on Genesis ”but from this end of the table I don’t hear that, and I don’t think customers out there hear that either.”

Jon Lemelin of Deloitte & Touche Consulting, paid about $10 million to design, build and debug the new system, pledged to stick with the project until it’s working smoothly.

Lemelin, questioned by Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, also said Deloitte had done up to 30 big computer projects for statewide use by agencies outside Nevada – but had never done a DMV-type system.

Representatives of Best Consulting, which got about $3.6 million for its role in spotting potential flaws in the Genesis program, weren’t on hand for the subcommittee hearing.

The consultant’s absence was noted by one of many speakers who testified about several-hour delays in taking care of registration and license renewals, title changes or other DMV business.

Also, mail-in transactions have bogged down, and in some cases people have been overcharged on their vehicle registration renewals.

Beers also repeated his earlier concerns about starting up the Genesis system on Sept. 7. While the DMV has said it was the right thing to do, he said ”I’d have to disagree that, knowing now what you know, that going live was a wise move. It could have been put off another month or two.”

The DMV’s Lewis said agency employees are exhausted but the new program is improving daily. But she and Lemelin were unable to give an estimate on the time needed to fix the remaining bugs.

Lewis also detailed plans to shorten lines by hiring more employees and setting up express service for matters that can be handled quickly.

Gov. Kenny Guinn, who inherited the Genesis system when he took office last January, plans to talk more about speedup efforts at news conferences Thursday in Las Vegas and Carson City.

Pete Ernaut, Guinn’s chief of staff, says the governor doesn’t want to lay blame and takes responsibility for making the final decision ”to pull the trigger on Genesis” a month ago.

Since then, DMV traffic hasn’t been light. The agency averages 131,000 vehicle registration renewals, 10,000 new vehicle registrations, 6,000 new drivers licenses and 30,000 license renewals per month.