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WCCO Viewers' Choice For Best DMV In Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- To get a license to drive, or new plates, or a host of other things in Minnesota usually requires a trip to the DMV.

Unless you enjoy long lines and even longer waits, the DMV may not be your cup of tea. But Chris Shaffer introduces us to one where you don't have to take a number and you're always greeted with a smile.

It's your pick for best DMV, and it's just up the road in Monticello.

The DMV is often characterized as seemingly-bumbling bureaucracy, who's bailiwick of keeping our people, cars and trailers licensed and legal has had a perennial image problem that appears to date back to the day when "rubber met road."

And yet, through this barrage of negativity shines a ray of hope, and it's coming from the Monticello Department of Motor Vehicles.

"We make sure that we take care of our customers, we act as if they're the only one in the room," said manager Carolyn Granger.

At other DMV's, overhearing Steve Mead's laundry list of requests would have had people in line checking their watches and pushing back appointments. But Amanda Erickson's astute knowledge of the system helped Mead get on his way in just a few minutes, unlike many of her Hollywood counterparts.

best dmv - monticello
(credit: CBS)

"You know, other places don't seem to be as speedy, as polite," Mead said. "I did nine [transactions] in less than 10 minutes."

"I think when you treat people with kindness and respect, I think you get it back," Erickson said.

Isn't that the truth? In addition, there are a few little things they do at the Monticello DMV that seem to humanize: the experience.

"We truly care about their well-being. If you're in line and then you forgot to fill something out, we have you step aside, and you don't have to get back in line. We call them up," Granger said.

The absence of anger-inducing, anti-customer policies have no-nonsense customers like Stewart McKee coming back for over 30 years.

"There's very little waiting and everybody knows what they're doing. And that's all I expect out of the government!" McKee said. "Don't waste my time and don't do anything stupid!"

We hear you, pal! And it appears the crew at the Monticello have heard you as well.

"We are here to help you. We're not here to send you away," Granger said. "I have an incredible staff, this place wouldn't be what it is without the staff."

So, one customer at a time, the Monticello DMV is changing how we think about license centers.

"Cars, boats, trailers. I come in, give them my money, I get the little sticker, I'm happy," McKee said.

The Monticello DMV is a "limited driver's license agency," which means that you can't get a new driver's license there, but you can get a replacement.

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