Sunday, October 21, 2018
Transportation

Mother reconciles with Plant City DMV employee who made her stand outside with baby

PLANT CITY — After Liz Gately was told to wait outside the Plant City’s Tax Collector office to renew her car registration with her 1-year-old last week, the internet fought back.

Facebook posts from Gately, 27, as well as bystanders and other mothers sent outside, went viral. Commenters called for the employee who ordered the women to wait outside or come back another day without young children to be fired.

READ MORE: Moms with infants told to wait outside Plant City DMV

On Thursday, Hillsborough County Tax Collector Doug Belden said he had met with Gately, and apologized. He said the two were able to reach an agreement with which they were both happy.

The employee, who has been with the DMV for more than 30 years, is writing Gately a letter of apology. She will also undergo new customer service and communication training.

"People make mistakes, but I firmly believe that everyone should be given a second chance to learn and grow from them," Belden said.

After his discussions with Gately, Belden said he’s ensuring benches are installed outside all of the county’s DMV offices. While there is no policy that prohibits children from being with parents inside the DMV, the benches can be used to quiet a fussing child if a parent feels they need to step outside.

Gately told the Tampa Bay Times last week her child was being well behaved, which is why she was taken aback by being told to wait outside.

She was even more frustrated when she realized there was nowhere to sit. She needed to renew her car registration and waited outside with her daughter in the heat for about two hours.

The Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s office has about 200 branch employees working in eight locations. Belden said they serve about a million people each year, and the department holds a customer satisfaction rating of close to 97 percent, according to data pulled from comment cards.

"I am very grateful that this matter has been resolved and that this experience can be used to adopt positive changes within our organization," Belden said.

Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale.

Comments
As ballots start coming in, All for Transportation makes its case for sales tax hike

As ballots start coming in, All for Transportation makes its case for sales tax hike

TAMPA — There is little disagreement that Hillsborough County’s roads and bus network are not meeting the needs of the fast-growing county.But how to fix congestion and pay for better transit remains a thorny issue even as voting by mail already is u...
Published: 10/12/18
Here’s how money from a sales tax hike would improve transportation in Hillsborough

Here’s how money from a sales tax hike would improve transportation in Hillsborough

BRANDON — The snarl of traffic starts early on Bloomingdale Avenue, brake lights inching west in a blur toward Interstate 75.Almost 50,000 vehicles travel the four-lane road every day. Congestion is so bad that traffic engineers give it an F, the low...
Published: 10/12/18
Bucs, Rays, Lightning back sales tax hike for transportation; each donate $100,000

Bucs, Rays, Lightning back sales tax hike for transportation; each donate $100,000

TAMPA — Tampa Bay’s three major professional sports franchises have each donated $100,000 to the citizen’s group pushing a sales tax for transportation improvements, helping push the group’s total political donations over the $2 million mark.Boosted ...
Updated one month ago
Pinellas’ first electric bus is here. It’s free. It’s in St. Pete.

Pinellas’ first electric bus is here. It’s free. It’s in St. Pete.

ST. PETERSBURG — The rumblings of a bus tend to be loud and exhaust-filled. Pinellas County’s bus agency wants to change that around here. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority purchased two electric busses that will start running this...
Updated one month ago
Is Pinellas County really the most dangerous place in the nation to ride a bicycle?

Is Pinellas County really the most dangerous place in the nation to ride a bicycle?

The headline was alarming."The Most Dangerous Place to Bicycle in America," the Wall Street Journal wrote Monday, declaring "Pinellas County, Fla., has the highest cyclist death rate in the Tampa Bay metro area — which has the highest rate of any met...
Updated one month ago
Commute times reach nearly half an hour, note backers of tax hike for transportation

Commute times reach nearly half an hour, note backers of tax hike for transportation

TAMPA — Something to ponder the next time you’re stuck on Dale Mabry Highway during rush hour: The average commute for people in Hillsborough County now pushes half an hour.U.S. Census Bureau data released this month shows a 28.3 minute average commu...
Updated one month ago