NJ - 6 Workers Punished for DMV Computer Glitch

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DMV Punishes Six Workers From Parsons Fake Vehicle Numbers Input Source: The Record, Northern New Jersey

Publication date: 2000-08-01

The state Division of Motor Vehicles said Monday that it has punished six employees of Parsons Infrastructure and Technology Group who were caught entering false data into computers at the Freehold inspection station when the computers malfunctioned. The glitch, which has been repaired, is one of many that have caused problems in the $500 million system Parsons was hired to install and has managed since December.

DMV spokesman Dana Sullivan said malfunctioning scanners forced employees to enter a vehicle's 17-digit identification number manually, but instead employees were seen entering the codes from their identification badges. Published reports have said soda cans were also used, though Sullivan said the DMV had not confirmed that.

"It's a shortcut," Sullivan said. "They're supposed to do it manually, and that's a drag, but that is the alternative. We saw it happening and then checked the records." Despite the flawed data entered, Sullivan said the tests performed on vehicles were valid. "Apparently the other information would be entered in," he said. "We're still looking into making sure all the records are complete."

Four employees were issued warnings and ordered to get retraining and be retested; one employee got a two-day suspension, and one received a four-day suspension.

Of four other employees who were caught, one is appealing, one had his case dismissed, one has quit, and one retired, Sullivan said.

The DMV also announced Monday that it was investigating the disappearance of 242 inspection stickers, many from North Jersey stations.

"The issue of missing stickers has always been a problem," Sullivan acknowledged.

The stations missing stickers were: Randolph, Deptford, Secaucus, Plainfield, Ridgewood, Lodi, Flemington, Winslow, Southampton, Cherry Hill, and Paramus.

It is not known how the stickers vanished, but Sullivan said people who worked the lanes where the stickers were missing from have been cited.

"We're not implying they've done anything illegal, but they are responsible for the whereabouts of those stickers," Sullivan said. He said notices went out to the workers and they have two weeks to request a hearing.

Meanwhile, starting today, seven inspection stations will begin taking cars by appointment, to try to reduce the long lines that have plagued some stations.

The appointment system seems to have caught on, with hundreds of people making appointments for the month of August, Parsons spokesman Carl Golden said. Montclair has taken 479, Ridgewood 398, Westfield 437, Bridgeton 129, Cape May 168, Salem, 147, and Washington Township in Warren County 247.

For today alone, Ridgewood has scheduled 121 appointments, about 80 percent of its maximum of 144.

"It's got to help substantially," Golden said. "We had it in Toms River and Freehold and this tells me people are aware of it and responding to it." Staff Writer Doug Most's e-mail address is most(at)bergen.com


-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), August 01, 2000

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