ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota will spend $1.3 million to temporarily add staff to handle the fallout from the launch of the state Licensing and Registration System.

The state Driver and Vehicle Services office will draw funds from the Highway User Tax Distribution Fund, the Star Tribune reported .

The office plans to hire 26 more staff members. Four additional staff members will be hired to supervise and train public information center staffers, said Cassandra O’Hern, deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.

The office received an onslaught of complaints when the system launched in July. The system immediately faced problems, including processing delays for license and title transactions.

The office received 30,000 emails and 700,000 calls in February and March, about 500,000 of which were lost because there weren’t enough operators, O’Hern said Tuesday. The office had about 40 people responding to calls and emails.

Staff members could only connect with 32 percent of callers prior to the system’s launch, according to state data.

“It’s a level of customer service that is simply unacceptable and it should not continue,” O’Hern said.

Residents weren’t the only people calling with questions, she said. Law enforcement and deputy registrars who oversee licensing offices had also called with questions. Those calls were pushed to the front of the queue, she said.

The state has already spent at least $93 million on the system.

Gov. Mark Dayton asked lawmakers for $10 million to help fix the system’s problems. The Legislature approved the request, stipulating that the funds must be spent on IT work and not on call center staff.


Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com