DMV Director Shiomoto retires after 30 years on the job

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s troubled Department of Motor Vehicles will get a new leader Dec. 31.

Gov. Jerry Brown designated Bill Davidson as acting director on Monday to take over for Jean Shiomoto, who is leaving at the end of the year. Davidson is currently the chief deputy director and has worked at the DMV for 16 years, working in field operations and as the budget officer. Davidson also helped implement California’s program that allows non-citizens to get drivers licenses.

Davidson will take over after a tumultuous year that saw hours-long wait times as the agency rolled out new federal ID requirements and a series of problems related to California’s “motor voter” program that automatically registers eligible people to vote.

In the latest error, Shiomoto said the agency failed to transmit 589 voter-related forms to elections officials before the November election, potentially preventing those people from voting.

Brown did not comment beyond a letter designating Davidson as acting director. Davidson did not offer comment through an agency spokesman.

Shiomoto told employees earlier this month she planned to step down at the end of the year after 38 years working for the state, DMV spokesman Armando Botello said Friday.

Her retirement plans became public after Secretary of State Alex Padilla called on Brown to replace her, saying he’d lost trust in her given the series of voter registration errors.

Earlier this year the DMV said it mistakenly registered roughly 1,500 people to vote. That group may have included non-citizens, people under 18 or those ineligible to vote because of a criminal conviction.

Brown’s term as governor ends in January.

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