WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Andres Ayala was a former state senator from Bridgeport, who was tapped by Governor Malloy to be commissioner a little more than a year ago. But that year was filled with issues that were too much for Ayala to overcome in the end.
Since August, it’s been one trouble after another for the Department of Motor Vehicles. The hot seat was too much for Commissioner Ayala, who submitted his resignation letter, which will be effective Friday. Malloy said he did not force the embattled commissioner to step down.
Malloy confirmed the report of Ayala’s resignation at a Wednesday press conference.
“I don’t think there was an any pressure from me to get him to resign,” Malloy said. “I think circumstances in his life lead to him deciding to move on at this point.”
Problems began when the DMV closed down for a week in August to upgrade their computer systems. After re-opening, lines were so long they stretched out the door. Wait times were excessively longer. Malloy said the new computer systems were necessary for progress.
“There’s a reason no other governor has put this system in, because it’s painful,” Malloy said. “Work should’ve been done 20 years ago. I appreciate the work he’s done.”
Another blow for the department came to light late last year. Drivers were mistakenly labeled as having no insurance. Oxford resident Dan Bednarsky spoke to News 8 in early January about that issue.
“It actually feels like the state is trying to extort money out of us,” Bednarsky said, regarding being fined even though his car was insured.
Drivers were fined several hundred dollars, ticketed, and in some cases their vehicles were towed. Those issues forced the commissioner to put the brakes on the whole operation two weeks ago.
“DMV will not give a list of regulation suspension for insurance compliance to law enforcement,” Ayala said at a press conference in early January. “We do not want people ticketed or towed until it’s cleared up.”
Ayala’s reported resignation comes just two weeks after he vowed to get the DMV back on track, “We will make the customer whole [again], because that’s the right thing to do.”
A spokesman at the DMV said Ayala was not available for comment. There is no word yet on a replacement.