Mark Taylor
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The Kansas Department of Motor Vehicle’s failed computer registration system upgrade has so far cost Johnson County $29,830 in overtime expenses.
That is in addition to the $800,000 the county is spending on additional employees to handle the additional workload since the new system went live in May.
Johnson County Commissioners on June 28 expressed frustration over the continued service delays and additional expense incurred since the system changeover took place.
The state’s vehicle registration system was switched over from a 30-year-old mainframe to a real time processing system.
However, the new $40 million system has resulted in long service delays, and customers have been cut off at mid-day because of capacity problems with the new system.
“I feel like the state is patting us on the back and saying, ‘It will get better,’” said Calvin Hayden, 6th District commissioner.  “…At what point do we say enough is enough?”
Tom Franzen, county treasurer, added that the new system does not include adequate means for insurance verification for mail-in registration renewals.
“I am not real happy with the insurance component, and I think we need to make some changes,” he said.
Michael Ashcraft, 5th District commissioner, said the problems would get worse if not addressed soon.
“The longer we wait, I would be fearful that the infrastructure that supported the previous system will be deconstructed,” he said.
Eilert added, “Perhaps we should send a bill for $800,000 to the state of Kansas (for having to hire additional employees).”
Commissioners directed Don Jarrett, chief legal counsel, to explore the county’s options.
“Don, it’s time to saddle up,” Ashcraft said.
Commissioners also directed Sheriff Frank Denning to work with area police departments to extend a 30-day grace period for those who are not able to get their registration completed on time.
Commissioners voted last week to backfill nine vacant positions in the Motor Vehicles Department as a result of the state’s new computer system.
Eight of nine of those positions were eliminated earlier this year as part of the county’s early retirement incentive program.
The county is also adding an additional eight positions to help fill out staffing at the two motor vehicle buildings.
Franzen said the fundamental difference between the old computer system and the new system is that previously, motor vehicle offices stored data on their own servers during the day and then transferred it to Topeka after doors closed.
Now each piece of data is sent to Topeka directly.