The Johnson County board of supervisors heard complaints this week about long lines blamed on the state’s new motor-vehicle registration computers. The new system went online the first of this year but Johnson County Treasurer Tom Kriz says it wasn’t trouble-free. It’s not a total change, he explains, it’s just a re-write of the software that was supposed to enhance the programs, make them quicker and provide better service for customers. In actuality, Kriz says, the clerks working with the new system quickly found out it had drawbacks.He says you expect some slowdowns and problems when there are new computer systems — but he says after the state spent ten-million dollars, he expects far better results early on they they’ve had the first month. He says they continue to find motor-vehicles files that were “lost” in the changeover from the old system to the new computers. Kriz says “a vast amount of data” didn’t automatically convert to the new system and that means folks who come in and find their records are gone have to wait 20, thirty minutes or more in line while clerks search for information and re-create the records. Shirley Andre, director of the Motor Vehicle Division, says she’s had no reports of problems converting the records. She is familiar with Kriz, and has heard he’s no fan of the new system. She says it’s “curious” he is so outspoken, as the last time she checked, last week, the people processing the work in Johnson County seemed to be doing quite well, were caught up and had figured out new ways of doing tasks she says led to “even more efficiencies than we had envisioned.” Andre says when it became apparent the 1984 computers could no longer handle new data her agency requested a new system and asked the county treasurers who use it contribute to the plan. She says they asked the treasurers for two things — they needed money, and they asked the treasurers to give the agency their very best people to help design it, and she says they did. Some of the counties didn’t have powerful enough P-Cs to run the new system, and some clerks had never worked with a mouse doing the motor-vehicle registrations, so it took time to bring everyone up to speed. Andre admits there were problems translating some titles into the new system. She says some records didn’t convert — vehicles in Dealer Inventory, waiting to be sold, and some small trailers she says “are the bane of our collective existence anyway, us and the treasurers,” because many don’t have titles. Andre says she figures the number of vehicles that didn’t make it into the new system is small, and many counties now have their backlog completely eliminated.
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