Q&A of the Day – About closed DMV’s & other government offices in Florida
Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.
Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1
Today’s entry: Dear Brian, I hear you every day, thank God, we have your voice here. I will make a brief statement (that) will go to the problem. It is painful that Mrs. Anne Gannon still keeps closed the tax collection offices.
My brother has been waiting for appointment for more than a month to renew his driver's license, these people from the government do not think about the consequences that this may have. He has to work he has to go to the store etc. etc. we need your voice In this regard, please, we must open those offices to the public. We are going to continue to suffer with these politicians. Also, the Social Security offices are closed, this is criminal.
Bottom Line: I hear your frustration. It’s understandable. I agree that it’s unreasonable to prevent Floridians from accessing the government services that they’ve paid for. Severely restricted access to government services during the pandemic has the potential to exacerbate already difficult circumstances for millions such as you and your brother. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen during the pandemic, this has become the norm. The challenge however, as you specifically asked your question, isn’t answered at the local level. First regarding DMV services. Here’s the current guidance from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles: Beginning June 3, 2020, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) will begin reopening offices to serve the public by appointment only. The issues your brother, and others seeking access to driver license services, are encountering aren’t the result of local officials. It's a different version of a similar thing regarding the Social Security offices.
The Social Security Administration (federal government) determines the operations of field offices. Here’s the current guidance from the SSN: All local Social Security offices will be closed to the public for in-person service starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020. This decision protects the population we serve—older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions—and our employees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As you can tell there’s been no status change since the onset of the pandemic and no indication of when that will change. Now there is a new tool the state has rolled out for driver's license renewals. You’re able to input your license number into a portal which will tell you if you even need to have in-person services. The state is renewing more licenses remotely than in the past. It’s worth trying. Also, for license exams and driving tests, the state has contracted with 74 companies across the state who are able to administer those services. Hopefully one of those options is helpful. Likewise, the Social Security Administration is offering expanded online services.
Principally I agree with your concerns. Government services are paid for by us and those who work in government are literally our employees – yet most agencies certainty don’t operate that way. If we’re able to walk into a retail store, we should be able to walk into a government building for services as well. This is an illustration of what we’ve allowed to happen as a society overtime. All governments, federal to local, exist only because we earn money that we pay to them. As such they should always be responsive to our needs – erroring on the side of their constituents. This is yet another reason as to why small/limited responsive government is the best form of governance.