Warren DMV branch closing for good

State law requires branch here, but DMV spokesperson said it could be some time before one is found and secured

By Ted Hayes
Posted 11/20/20

Warren's part time DMV branch at Warren Government Center has been closed since March. Now, it has likely served its last customer.

DMV spokesman Paul Grimaldi confirmed Friday morning that the …

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Warren DMV branch closing for good

State law requires branch here, but DMV spokesperson said it could be some time before one is found and secured

Posted

Warren's part time DMV branch at Warren Government Center has been closed since March. Now, it has likely served its last customer.

DMV spokesman Paul Grimaldi confirmed Friday morning that the DMV plans to move out of the space once its lease with the town expires at the end of the month. And with state finances in disarray due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said it could be some time before a new branch in Warren is found and secured.

"The state doesn't have a budget for this year and we don't have the money or authority to strike a lease," he said.

State law requires that Warren, as well as Westerly, have part-time branches. Unless state law is changed, "we will have to find another place. But we haven't been able to at this stage."

Mr. Grimaldi said he has not heard of any move to introduce legislation that would remove the Warren or Westerly mandate.

Instead, he said the DMV is working with the town to try to find a suitable place, and Warren Town Planner Bob Rulli confirmed that "we have had preliminary discussions and have offered to assist (the) DMV in looking for alternative locations."

The Warren branch closed in mid-March after several employees at the DMV's Cranston branch went into quarantine after coming into contact with people out of the office who had tested positive. Though neither ultimately tested positive, resultant staffing shortages there drew workers from other branches, and the decision to close Warren and Westerly came soon after as "we didn't have enough staff (for) the part-time" branches.

Though he does not have a timeline for when a new Warren branch could be secured and opened, Mr. Grimaldi said it will likely be some time.

"Right now we don't have a timeline to re-open it," he said. "Let's say we strike a lease for retail space on Route 136. We couldn't just move in. We'd still have to go to the State Properties Commission and present that lease. It's certainly not going to re-open in 2020 and at this stage I would say it's unlikely to be the first half of 2021."

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