Michele Mizner

WNY — Ever since the COVID-19 viral pandemic emerged earlier this year, some workers within the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles have reported a significant increase of violent workplace incidents that put their health and safety at risk.

Workers have been assaulted, kidnapped, threatened and have been made targets of physical and verbal abuse. The real time instant notification of test results policy forces workers to sometimes deliver unwelcome news of failure to clients, which in some instances, has led to license examiners being put in harm’s way.

Michele Mizner, a motor vehicle license examiner (MVLE) who works out of the Buffalo and Western New York area, says giving a client real time news why they failed the road test is an unpredictable event.

Mizner said, “On occasion the client can become explosive, combative, abusive and nasty. Our natural reaction to an emergency situation gets suppressed. It’s part of the job. However, I believe no one should be subjected to that kind of risk at work. It’s far too many times to count that I have been threatened with physical harm and have been called everything in the book. There is no reason why we can’t use delayed notification. It would certainly make it safer for all concerned.”

“Hopefully, at some point, we can remedy these issues and get back to the business of serving the public the best way we know how,” said Mizner.

(Author’s note: Please also read accompanying story on the DMV instant notification policy in the November 2020 issue of the CSEA Work Force.)

West Seneca — MVLE Michele Mizner inspects a vehicle before she adiministers a CDL licensing road test exam.

-Ove Overmyer

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About Author

Ove Overmyer is an award winning photojournalist and writer who has promoted the virtue of working people and the value of public service throughout his career. His work has been published by many well-respected international media outlets, including PBS Moyers & Co., Steward Update UCS Worker Institute Cornell ILR, CBS News, The Weather Channel, SCI-FY Channel, Associated Press and LOGO-TV. Before joining the CSEA Communications Department staff in 2015, Overmyer was a CSEA member employed by the City of Rochester and an officer of the union for more than 18 years. He covers a 14 county area of Western New York and lives in Rochester, NY.

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