Relief is on its way for people who’ve complained of long lines and long waits for appointments with the county offices of vehicle registration and licensing.
Four new clerks — two in Kona and two in Hilo — will soon join the ranks of workers ready to accept your applications and checks. The workers will also fill in in Waimea and Pahoa as needed.
Currently, there are 15 vehicle registration clerks in vehicle registration offices and 17 in the drivers license offices scattered around the island.
The County Council on a 9-0 vote passed a resolution Wednesday creating the new positions, after earlier this month finding money for them in the county budget.
“This is such an important position; we need it so desperately on both sides of the island,” said Council Chairwoman Maile David, who represents South Kona and Ka‘u.
Adding the positions is expected to go a long way addressing community concern, council members said. The four positions total $216,447 in salaries, wages, retirement and fringe benefits.
“We’re trying to fulfill a need that the county of Hawaii itself has,” said Puna Councilman Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder, who sponsored the resolution after convincing fellow council members to move money in the budget to fund the positions. “I think this is crucial to maintaining service in this county.”
The current waiting time for vehicle registration renewals is usually about two to four weeks. Several thousand drivers licenses are currently expired, but are valid per the governor’s emergency proclamation, said Finance Director Deanna Sako.
“We will be opening Hilo this Saturday for appointments to help with the backlog and we are taking walk-ins at Hilo and Kona each day to help catch up,” she said.
The positions should be able to be filled relatively quickly, but it won’t happen overnight.
“We need to create the positions with the Department of Human Resources, then we will fill the positions as soon as possible,” Sako said. “If there is not a current list of eligible candidates, then Human Resources will do a recruitment for additional candidates.”