WILLMAR — One day after Deb Mickle testified before a legislative subcommittee that met in Willmar to hear concerns about the state's new vehicle licensing and registration system, she had to post a sign at the Kandiyohi County License Bureau that the state's system was down — again.
"It's very frustrating for us and our customers," said Mickel on Tuesday afternoon. "There are people who need their car tabs and we simply can't sell them right now."
Ever since the new system launched at the end of July, there have been problems completing many transactions, such as transferring vehicle titles or getting proper classifications for farm vehicles.
During a hearing earlier this month in St. Paul and the hearing Monday in Willmar, licensing registrars, including Mickle, and auto dealers from the area told lawmakers the problem-plagued Minnesota Licensing and Registration System, known as MNLARS, is costing them time, money and customers.
Mickle found it a little ironic that when she arrived at the office Tuesday morning, the system had a new set of problems.
The computers were running slowly and would log out in the middle of transactions, she said.
Most troubling was that the system would charge double for two transactions and then charge nothing for the next two.
After running "sporadically" until 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, the system would not complete any motor vehicle transaction.
After learning that the entire statewide system was having problems, Mickle decided they had to temporarily stop most services.
She posted a notice — where a long line of people are usually standing — stating that the system was down with no estimated time of repair.
"We apologize for the inconvenience," the sign said.
Mickle said it's likely the culprit this time was an overnight computer upgrade that included a few glitches.
Around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, the system "kicked in" and began working properly, she said.
Mickle is hoping the system hangs together through the end of the month when many people come in to get license tabs renewed.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has said the agency is working to fix problems with the system.