New Orleans, La. - Following our FOX 8 Investigation, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles now said his employees were breaking the rules, and customers were treated unfairly because of it.
FOX 8 found that, whether a customer waited 10 minutes or much longer at the OMV, they were told to leave when the clock struck closing time. It didn't seem to matter to staff whether they were seen or not.
But Commissioner Stephen Campbell told us it's the state policy for all motor vehicle offices to get to every customer who takes a number before 4:00 p.m.
Campbell didn't believe it was any different at the Veterans Boulevard location.
On August 23, Campbell said, "I would tell you that people didn't tell you the truth. I would tell you that. And that's all I can say to you."
But after seeing FOX 8 video of dozens of customers streaming out of the Veterans office when they were told to leave, Campbell took a look at OMV's own surveillance video. He said he found that people had been getting kicked out at the end of the day for weeks.
When we asked if Campbell was surprised by what he saw, he said, "Yes, particularly because we asked the day before the interview and were told that wasn't going on."
He said the office manager claimed that she wasn't telling people to leave even if they had been waiting with a number in hand.
"That did occur. It most assuredly occurred," said Campbell. "I apologize if any viewer thought I was trying to cover up something. I certainly wasn't. We had asked the day before and were told by the manager that that was not going on. We determined that that wasn't truthful."
That decision has been affecting everyone's wait time, because many folks who were turned away one day would line up early the next morning.
"Was it the right thing to do? It was the wrong thing to do, and we have corrected it," said Campbell.
Campbell said they are correcting it by counseling the office manager - who Campbell said has been working at the Office of Motor Vehicles for at least 17 years - on the proper protocols. He said they will continue to monitor her activity and see to it that she increases the productivity of her employees.
"She is in the same position at this time. We're reviewing her performance and have given her some goals over the next quarter," said Campbell.
Meanwhile, Campbell is taking new steps to improve wait times.
In three months, the New Orleans office will become the first in the state to have self-service kiosks for quick transactions like renewing drivers licenses or turning in license plates.
The kiosks, along with many other changes that include opening new offices in the region, should help improve wait times.