Genesis system could spawn cottage industry

For all you people standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, a suggestion from Don Quilici might create a whole new industry.

Don's idea is to hire high-school kids to stand in line for you. Rather than spending all day at the DMV waiting for the Genesis system to move toward Deuteronomy, you could pay some kid to do it for you.

Give the kid a cell phone, and when he's next in line he can give you a call. You'll still have 30 or 40 minutes to get there. It would be a boon for the teen labor market, as well.

That's the most practical solution I've heard yet.

Apparently the company to whom we're paying millions hasn't figured the thing out yet. They went from zero bugs to 40 bugs to 250 bugs in the month the Genesis system has been "operating."

Except that the folks who work over at the DMV say there was never anything like zero bugs in the system. There were always major bugs in the system, but when the employees told supervisors and lawmakers about the bugs, the employees were labeled as troublemakers who just couldn't handle change.

Then the company that's supposed to be making this thing run hinted that maybe, just maybe, it was the state's computer people who were fouling things up.

So the state's programmers went in and pointed out all the flaws that the private company had missed. That's when the number of bugs went from 30 to 300, which means they're multiplying at roughly the same rate as cockroaches.

What bothers me is that DMV employees working with the public are taking the heat, because they have to face it every day.

I can imagine the problems created for workers when their computers just won't operate, because it happens here from time to time. In fact, just last week one of the departments at the Appeal couldn't get to the information in its computer system, and stress levels rose by the hour.

I've also been through a couple of computer system conversions, when one day we're producing the newspaper on one kind of computer and the next day we're producing the newspaper on another kind of computer.

These weren't quite on the scale of the Genesis conversion, of course. On the other hand, if we had the kind of computer problems they're having at the DMV, we probably wouldn't be in business any more.

I think Gov. Kenny Guinn deserves credit for stepping up and deflecting some of the criticism. He said it was his decision to flip the switch, because he was frustrated at seeing the state spend $35 million for a computer system that wasn't on line.

Obviously, it wasn't Guinn who implemented this system or is responsible for all the delays. He inherited the problem as governor, and now he's trying to solve it.

Several employees say the switch never should have been thrown Sept. 7, because the bugs should have been apparent and - because it wasn't working - the employees hadn't had enough opportunity to train.

Guinn forced the issue, but I suspect he wasn't given accurate information. How else do you explain that there were zero bugs on launch day, but there are 300 now?

Aside from the people standing in line and the stressed-out DMV workers, there are police officers all over the state who can't tell whether your license has been revoked or renewed. Guinn is suggesting a 30-day grace period, which will probably be unhappy news to the people who got caught in a previous DMV glitch and still had to pay fines.

Of course, there's always a silver lining in every cloud.

In Carson City, the Sonic drive-in this week began advertising on its marquee, "Expired drivers license? Free hamburger."

See, it's already turning into an industry.

Unfortunately for DMV employees, it's also their career.

Barry Smith is managing editor of the Nevada Appeal.


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