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August 14, 2020 - 10:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in County Clerk, DMV, news.

The Batavian received the following complaint from a reader:

I dropped off paperwork at the Batavia DMV. They say it takes 2-3 weeks to get it back. You're telling me that something that takes normally 20 minutes to do in person takes weeks due to the COVID? Could you please help shed light on this for all of Genesee County.

County Clerk Michael Cianfrini responds:

Very simply, the volume of dropbox work has increased exponentially since we were able to reopen and began processing them, while at the same time we are seeing an increase in dealer work, providing great service to our in-office customers and manning the phones all day long. We are currently receiving approximately 20x the normal daily volume of dropbox transactions, in addition to seeing a significant increase in the volume of our dealer work.  Every day we allocate staff to focus on the dropbox work, but when 200 or more transactions are received each day, including many, many from out of county, we can only do our best to process them and return them as quickly as we can. We have to dedicate staff to the dealer work to ensure that those transactions are processed and returned in a timely fashion, and we obviously have to assign staff to service the in-office customers who have made appointments. We also currently hand deliver dozens of license plates to Genesee County residents at the curb outside every day, in order to avoid them having to come into the office and unnecessarily placing themselves at risk. Factor in the fact that we now receive well over 600 phone calls per day that someone has to try to answer, and we, unfortunately, end up with approximately a 2 week turnaround time. 

While some customers may view this as an unusually lengthy turnaround time, I assure you that given the situation it is not.  In fact, we are receiving so many out of county transactions via mail and the dropbox precisely because many of the surrounding counties are experiencing an even longer lag time. Based upon conversations I have had with other county clerks, two weeks is actually a shorter turnaround time than many other county DMVs can provide. I would also like to add than in the case of registration renewals submitted with the renewal invite that the customer received in the mail, we are able to process them and mail them back usually the same day. We are also one of the only counties that have phone lines still open to the public to answer questions, as many other counties have turned off their phones completely, a fact that out-of-county residents express to us on the phone countless times each day. 

In summary, while the situation may not please every customer, Genesee County is absolutely not alone in experiencing a backlog on submitted transactions. I am very proud of the job we are doing and the service we are providing given the circumstances. We are in the same situation as almost every DMV statewide and are handling the extreme volume of work in an efficient and timely manner all things considered. If one were able to even reach a neighboring DMV on the phone, they would find that Genesee County is as fast or faster in most cases in processing and returning work. While one transaction may only take “20 minutes to do in person,” that transaction must now take its place in line with the hundreds and hundreds of other transactions that were submitted before it. For every complaint that you may hear from an anxious customer, I assure you we receive many times that number of "thank you’s" and compliments on our fast and courteous service. 

I hope this sheds some light on the situation, and I thank the residents of Genesee County for their continued patronage and patience.

May 14, 2020 - 4:45pm

From Genesee County Clerk Michael T. Cianfrini:

In light of the recent announcement that Genesee County has been included in the Governor’s Phase I plan to begin lifting restrictions in the Finger Lakes Region, I would like to clarify that unfortunately this does not apply to the Genesee County DMV.

Pursuant to the Executive Orders issued by the Governor in March, every DMV in the state was closed to the public and thus far none have been cleared to reopen.

In recent days we have fielded hundreds of calls from individuals inquiring as to whether we will be reopening to the public on May 18th, so I would like to clarify and state that unfortunately the Phase I plan does not include the DMV.

Therefore, until the state lifts the closure, we must remain closed to the public until further notice.  

However, while we are prohibited from opening our doors to the public at this time, we remain committed to serving the public to the extent possible.

Our office continues to handle a wide range of transactions submitted through the mail or deposited in one of our drop boxes. If you need to do any of the following transactions, please feel free to submit your paperwork either through the mail or preferably through one of our DMV drop boxes located on Court Street in Batavia or Main Street in Le Roy:

  • Registration renewals 
  • Transferring plates from one vehicle to another vehicle owned by the same individual
  • License plate surrenders
  • Driver’s license renewals, provided an electronic eye test has been submitted, or a form MV-619 Vision test is included.

If you drop off or mail any of these transactions to us, please remember to include your full name, physical address and a phone number in case we need to reach you.  

Also, please rest assured that if your driver’s license or registration expired in March they are still valid and you cannot be ticketed for the expiration.

Governor Cuomo, through executive order extended all of those expiration dates “until further notice."

I, along with other County Clerks, have advocated to him and our state Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to continue extending those expirations so that when we do reopen, we can do so in a measured, controlled manner. Otherwise, a situation may be created where maintaining order and social distancing in our office would be extremely difficult with the surge of customers.

Once we are cleared to reopen the DMV to the public, we are putting measures in place to help ensure the safety of both the staff and our customers through limiting the number of customers in the office, identifying safe distancing locations for those in line, and requiring the wearing of masks to enter the building and our office.

Further, we are restricting entrance to only the door on the west side of building, between County Building #1 and the Old Courthouse. The exit will be on the east side of the building on Court Street. This will minimize the risk of contact between people passing in the hallways.  

We appreciate everyone’s patience through this difficult time, and I remain confident that we can get through this together until some semblance of normalcy returns.  If you have any questions, please feel free to send us an email at:   [email protected]

March 17, 2020 - 7:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee County Clerk's Office, DMV, COVID-19, news.

Press release from Genesee County Clerk Michael Cianfrini:

Due to the risks associated with the novel coronavirus, and after consultation with relevant health professionals, the County Clerk’s Recording Office will be closed to the public effective Wednesday, March 18th.

We will unfortunately not be able to process pistol permit amendments, passport applications, DBA filings or in-office real estate recordings.

All users are strongly encouraged to use the eFiling, eRecording and online search capabilities that our office offers. 

Please be advised that the office will maintain minimal staff in the office to process mail transactions and electronically submitted transactions. For any paper filings or searches that are not time sensitive, please hold off on filing or recording until this necessary restriction can be lifted.

Please visit our website for information on obtaining a subscription to access our records online. Civil filings can continue to be submitted through the NYSCEF eFiling system. Real estate documents and other recordings can still be submitted electronically through either Simplifile or CSC.  

In addition, the Genesee County DMV will also be closed to the public effective Wednesday, March 18th.

While we will not be open to the public, the office will continue to process certain transactions submitted either through the drop box or U.S. Mail. For registration renewals, please sign the back of the registration invite and make your check or money order payable to the “Genesee County Clerk."

Driver’s License renewals can be submitted via mail and will require the following:

  • An eye test report (MV-619) or you may visit any Vision Registry Location and the results will be electronically forwarded to the DMV.  
  • Enclose the paper invitation sent to you in the mail, or you may obtain a form MV-44 on the MY DMV website.  Make the check or money order payable to the “Genesee County Clerk.”

License plate surrenders can be dropped off with $1 cash and a written address to return the receipt to.

A clear and complete copy of a CDL Medical Examiners Certificate may also be deposited in the drop box with a valid phone number on the back.  We will fax the certificate and notify you when it is processed in the DMV system (takes approximately two weeks).

We also remind everyone that during this period the public can utilize the DMV services available online to complete many DMV transactions.

As County Clerk, I recognize the inconvenience that these restrictions place on the public, but please understand that the interests of public health and the health of the County Clerk staff are of utmost concern. It is our sincere hope that these measures can be lifted as soon as the public health officials deem prudent.

December 16, 2019 - 5:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Green Light Law, DMV, County Clerk, news, notify.


A change in the law, called the "Green Light Law," that would allow people in the United States without legal permission to be here to obtain a driver's licenses is getting push back in Genesee County from local residents and the County Clerk.

A small group of residents staged a protest outside County Building #1 this morning. Also this morning, County Clerk Michael Cianfrini announced a moratorium on new driver's permits because he is concerned about the lack of training his staff has received about the new law.

"We're out here because we disagree with Gov. Cuomo about the law," said Carl Hyde, or organized the protest. "We're American citizens and we have a right to freedom of speech and to say the law is wrong and we disagree with it."

He expressed concern about DMV staff locally not receiving adequate training to inspect documents from other nations and decide if documents that are presented to determine identity are legitimate documents.

That's also the worry of Cianfrini, who has been hoping the governor would delay implementation of the law or a court would intervene to at least slow down its implementation.

"As it became obvious that none of these were going to happen, I consulted with county management and our county attorney and decided that this was the best course of action in the very short term," Cianfrini said. "As the state has changed many of the policies and procedures that we use to process new applications while providing minimal training and information on exactly how to handle various situations, we were uncomfortable with completing the transactions."

He said that if clerks were presented with documents they could not verify or authenticate, or if the clerks suspected fraud, they would be prohibited from contacting law enforcement and from keeping copies of the docuemnts. At the same time, he said the county DMV has been told to handle suspicious documents "as we always have."

"I am afraid that we will either take a copy of something or report something that we shouldn’t, and find ourselves in violation of the law, or accept and process something that we shouldn’t and likewise run afoul of the law," Cianfrini said. "As we do not discriminate against anyone based upon a suspicion of country of origin or suspected legal status, we felt it necessary to implement this blanket moratorium on new permits to protect ourselves and to be in a position to handle the transactions properly when we start issuing them again.  It is my sincere hope that we will be able to begin processing new permit transactions again within the next few days."

December 13, 2019 - 2:46pm

Press release:

Twenty-seven County Clerks in New York State with DMV responsibilities, including all officers of the New York State Association of County Clerks (NYSACC), today (Dec. 13), call on Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYS DMV Commissioner Mark Schroeder to halt implementation of the Driver License Access & Privacy Act immediately for the safety and security of all New Yorkers.

Following two hastily delivered webinars and a conference call, county clerks agree that New York State DMV failed to provide regulations that would ensure the integrity of the identification process for Standard Driver License applicants.  

The State DMV has failed to put in place safeguards to prevent someone who has a Social Security number from signing the affidavit form (NSS-1) claiming they’ve never been issued a Social Security number, enabling people to conceal their true identities. In fact, State DMV representatives admitted during their conference call with county clerks on Monday, Dec. 9, that they have no way to check or verify if a person using the affidavit form (NSS-1) in fact was never issued a Social Security number.

The State DMV has also failed to apply standards to the translation certification process, allowing anyone regardless of their age or language proficiency to certify a document’s correct translation without any proof of such. The absence of standards to the translation certification process allows for anyone regardless of their relationship to the applicant to certify the translation of documents for anyone, including minors.

Furthermore, county DMV representatives have no way of ensuring the correct translation of written documents and have been directed by State officials to simply “look for the word ‘certify’ on the document.”

Because of these lax regulations, implementation of the State law at this time would create unacceptable security risks as the loopholes allow for nefarious people to obtain a New York State Standard Driver Licenses and use it to commit bank fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud, human trafficking, and other criminal activities.

Furthermore, the federal REAL ID Act, which increases security standards for certain state-issued driver licenses and identity documents, goes into effect Oct. 1. Implementation of the State law prior to Oct. 1 would create unacceptable security risks because the lax regulations would allow for nefarious people to obtain a New York State Standard Driver License and use it to board an airplane, enter secure federal buildings, enter military bases or enter nuclear sites for malicious reasons for nine months until the REAL ID Act takes effect.  

Therefore, the undersigned county clerks strongly urge Governor Cuomo to halt the implementation of the Driver License Access & Privacy Act and to direct the State Department of Motor Vehicles to promulgate stronger regulations that would protect the security of all New Yorkers and ensure the integrity of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles licensing and identification verification procedures.

Joseph Mihalko (Broome)

Kip Cassavaw (Franklin)

Brittany Kolbe (Montgomery)

Indy Jaycox (Schoharie)

Susan Dwyer (Cayuga)

Linda Kollar (Fulton)

Joseph Jastrzemski (Niagara)

Theresa Thilbin (Schuyler)

Larry Barmore (Chautauqua)

Michael Cianfrini (Genesee)

Sandra DePerno (Oneida)

Andrea Klett (Tioga)

Elizabeth Larkin (Cortland)

Jane Zarecki (Hamilton)

Kathy Gardner (Otsego)

Stephanie Lemery (Washington)

Debra Goodrich (Delaware)

Sylvia Rowan (Herkimer)

Michael Bartolotti (Putnam)

Pamela Vogel (Warren)

Michael Kearns (Erie)

Gizelle Meeks (Jefferson)

Frank Merola (Rensselaer) 

Michael Jankowski (Wayne)

Joseph Provoncha (Essex)

Michael Keville (Madison)

Craig Hayner (Saratoga)


August 28, 2019 - 9:52am
posted by Billie Owens in news, Steve Hawley, DMV, license plate fee.

Press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is joining fellow legislators in cosponsoring a bill that will protect New York state drivers from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $25 mandated fee on new license plates.

The legislation, introduced last week by Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, would prohibit the state Department of Motor Vehicles from requiring a fee when the design of the state license plate is changed.

“This is yet another hidden ‘money grab’ coming from the governor’s office,” Hawley said. “Cuomo has no problem wasting taxpayer dollars on new signs for his father’s bridge and undocumented immigrants, but loves to shake down the taxpayers for every cent of their hard-earned paychecks.”

Last week, the governor announced that license plates older than 10 years old will be subjected to the new replacement requirement. The governor’s plan imposes a mandated $25 fee, which is the maximum allowed by law for new plates, on top of the already-burdensome registration renewal costs. Drivers who want to keep their license plate number will also be forced to pay an extra $20 under his proposal.

According to Cuomo's plan: beginning April 1, 2020, through the plate replacement program, as customers renew their vehicle registrations over the next two years, those with license plates that are 10 years old or older will be issued new plates. The current $25 license plate replacement fee will be added to the cost of the vehicle owner's registration renewal. Customers may also keep their current license plate number for an additional $20 fee. Plate issuance begins for both original issuance and renewals on April 1.

The plate replacement program is part of the governor's efforts to modernize New York's transportation system. There is also a vote being taken by the governor's office for the new winning design among five that are proposed. Voting is underway now through Sept. 2.

In addition to whichever new design is chosen, there are 200 custom designs offered by the NY DMV.

For more information about the plate replacement program, click here.

(Image provided by Steve Hawley's office.)

May 20, 2018 - 2:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in DMV, news, Announcements.

Press release:

Genesee County Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is changing its daily operating hours, effective Monday, May 21. The new five day/week lobby hours will be 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

County DMV staff will continue to work on higher-than-anticipated transaction volumes and area auto dealer work in the last hour of the work day and with overtime resources.

Because of our County DMV’s reputation as a top-notch service center and expeditious processer of DMV records and changes, a significant number of adjacent counties' residents have also been coming to Batavia for their face-to-face transactions.

County Clerk/DMV staff and administrators recognize that the increased wait times and increase in transaction volumes make for a less than optimal situation, the change to this revised daily routine/access is an experiment to see if the wait times can reduce and the levels of frustration all around can be reduced/eliminated.

Genesee County wants to thank all our loyal citizens and customers for their continued use of our County DMV which enhances our state reimbursement revenue and controls or reduces the need for property tax revenue to support the overall $541,000 annual County Clerk/DMV division budget.

November 2, 2016 - 5:55pm
posted by WBTA News in Board of Elections, batavia, DMV.

A concerned resident reached out to The Batavian with a report that the Genesee County Board of Elections did not have her as a registered voter in the county after she had allegedly filled out a new voter registration form at the DMV.

She reported that she was still registered in Monroe County after moving from Rochester to Batavia in July and registering at the DMV.  

Republican Election Commissioner Dick Siebert said the DMV discrepancy has been an issue of concern for the past few years.

Siebert said “Our main purpose is that everyone who claims that they registered through the DMV has an opportunity to vote that night, and what we do is provide them an affidavit ballot so that they're not turned away just because we say we can't find a registration for you...They can cast an affidavit ballot, which is the same ballot that everyone else gets, and then we have to sort it out later, each case by itself as to what happened -- why they're are not showing up registered with us.”

Siebert added that their main focus is first making sure everyone has the chance to vote and, second, ensuring that there is no voter fraud.

October 7, 2010 - 12:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, County Clerk, DMV.

If the county's Department of Motor Vehicles office were to cut 5 percent of its expenses, it would seriously jeopardize current, profitable revenue streams, County Clerk Don Read told the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.

donread.jpgIn 2009, the county's DMV took in $70,000 in profits, and that number could top $150,000 in 2010.

As part of the county's budget process, department heads are being asked to suggest ways to shave 5 percent of their expenses.

Read said to make that significant of a cut he would need to lay off a staff member, which would mean less staff time to process DMV paperwork for out-of-county auto dealers.

Apparently, Read's office has been able to build a business around servicing the DMV needs of Monroe County dealers because of quicker turn-around times.

Eliminating staff members would take that process from three or five days to 10 days or more, erasing the edge Genesee County's DMV office has over Monroe County.

"We've gone from a deficit in that office of $41,000 to this year showing a significant profit," Read said.

He thinks 2011's profit could exceed $200,000.

Profits from the DMV office go back into the county's general fund.

Read said the local staff's primary responsibility is taking care of walk-in clients, so if staffing were reduced, their would be less time available to handle dealers' DMV needs.

About 35 to 40 percent of Genesee County's walk-in DMV clients are from outside of Genesee County, and if waits became longer because of staffing constraints, the county would start losing that business as well.

County Manager Jay Gsell called the idea of 5 percent cuts a "suggestion."

"We told the department heads, you know your budget better than we and so we'll take those suggestions and see what to do with it," Gsell said.

During the Ways and Means Committee meeting, there didn't seem to be much enthusiasm for cutting the county clerk's budget.

"The bottom line is the bottom line," said Mary Pat Hancock, chairwoman of the Legislature. "I’m glad you’re making money. I don’t want to hurt that."

October 1, 2010 - 10:12am
posted by Mike Kelly in enhanced drivers license, DMV.

I recently went to DMV/Batavia to apply for a non-driver enhanced ID. This option is available even if you have a drivers license. Being over 62, this option is cheaper than the Enhanced Drivers License.

I presented all the proofs required. Drivers license, SS card, birth certificate along with an electric bill and property tax bill for proof of residence.

The electric bill and property tax bill were rejected as proof of residence. Both these documents have my home address listed on them, but they were mailed to my PO box.

There are 36 types of documentation listed on DMV/ID-44EDL which can be used as proof of residence; but have to be MAILED TO YOUR RESIDENCE. No PO boxes.

Therefore, I was rejected and the only option I was given was to cancel my PO box and install a mail box at my home address.

Upon returning home, I called the DMV helpline. I spoke to a very pleasant young lady explaining my situation. No help. I then spoke with her supervisor who also could not help with my situation. He did state though that "apparently the politicians didn't think this through completely". (Nothing new there)

Bottom line; if you receive ALL your mail at a PO box, you are not eligible to receive an Enhanced Drivers License/ID. (I can't be the only person in the state with this problem.)

I'll be going to Sen. Ranzenhofer's mobile office at Pembroke Town Hall tomorrow; perhaps I can obtain a more logical explanation. (I won't hold my breath, but will report on what transpires.)

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