Yolanda Chavez (right), Quay County’s state Motor Vehicle Division manager, helps Mary Padilla do a vehicle identification number inspection on Friday.
After hearing complaints about service at the local office of the Motor Vehicle Division, the chief of the organization has instituted measures to improve his office’s standing.
Since Gov. Bill Richardson’s June visit to Tucumcari, MVD Bureau Chief Raul Alvarez said the customer service at Tucumcari DMV has seen a drastic turnaround.
During a June visit to the Tucumcari Convention Center, Richardson was informed by area residents that there were major concerns about the local Motor Vehicle Division.
“The state needs to do something,” City Manager Richard Primrose said at the time.
“After the town hall meeting with the governor his office contacted the DMV (in Santa Fe) wanting to follow up on what the governor had heard at the meeting,” Alvarez said. “We then went to local businesses and listened to complaints most of them were about bad customer service so we sent all employees to a customer service class.”
Aside from bad customer service complaints residents shared with the governor about having to drive to Logan in order to handle MVD business, Alvarez said he acknowledges that currently there is a MVD clerk training problem statewide that Santa Fe is trying to address.
“We’re creating a new training process,” Alvarez said. “Right now training is done individually in each office by the manager but we’re trying to implement a statewide training program for all clerks.”
Another factor in why residents may be driving to Logan instead of going to the local MVD could be because the Logan office isn’t ran by Santa Fe, Alvarez said. He explained how the clerks in Tucumcari aren’t necessarily less trained to handle customers but just the opposite.
“I would say the experience is a lot more on the Tucumcari side,” Alvarez said. “It’s not that the people in the Tucumcari office don’t want to help people it’s that they know the procedures and laws that must be taken to do things correctly and if people can’t get what they want here they’ll start shopping around until they get what they want and if that means driving to Logan then I’m sure they’ll continue to make that trip.”
The Logan MVD office is currently advertising the position of a new MVD clerk. Alvarez said after someone is hired hopefully Santa Fe can work with both offices to get Quay County residents the service they need while abiding by all the laws and procedures imposed by the state.
“Hopefully we can get everyone in both offices on the same page to assist customers and to know what to do if they have questions,” Alvarez said.
Primrose, who had to travel to Logan last year in order to get a new car title for a vehicle purchased at an auction, understands why people were frustrated with the DMV in Tucumcari, but said since the governors visit he hasn’t heard any complaints.
Since the Logan MVD office is run by the Village of Logan, not by the state of New Mexico as is the Tucumcari office, Village Administrator Larry Wallin said the Village of Logan receives a portion of the fee for every piece of business that is handled in their office.
Wallin said he has no idea why Tucumcari residents would prefer his office over their own, but did add that just last week 10 students from Mesalands Community College drove to Logan to take tests for their CDL certification.
“We’re just here to serve our people; that’s what we do,” Wallin said. “As village administrator I haven’t heard any complaints about on our Motor Vehicle Department.”
Alvarez said any customer who has a question or concern about anything concerning MVD matters and isn’t getting the assistance they need through the Tucumcari office can contact him or another bureau chief in the Santa Fe office at 505-827-0158.