The Grays Harbor County Auditor’s office is currently experiencing staffing issues regarding its Department of Licensing function, creating an inability to offer DOL services until more agents can be hired.
Grays Harbor County Auditor Joe MacLean stated that the auditor’s office is in the process of hiring a new DOL agent after the lone member of the office trained in Department of Licensing matters moved to a different department during the holidays, leaving a void in the Courthouse office that he is hoping to fill by March 1.
“Basically, we are in the process of hiring a new DOL agent that will have to go through training outside the office for 30 to 60 days once hired,” MacLean said. “Until then, the DOL portion of the auditor’s office is closed.”
MacLean confirmed he is in the process of interviewing for the position and hopes to make a hire soon, but that due to required training, it will take some time before the office will have a licensed DOL agent available.
“Once trained and working, they won’t be able to do titles until six months because of DOL regulations,” MacLean said.
In the meantime, the DOL functions the auditor’s office provided are also performed by the Hoquiam Licensing Agency located at 2616 Sumner Ave. in Aberdeen. Call 360-532-5912 for more information.
The auditor’s office was getting support from Hoquiam-based DOL agents for a time being, but since the holidays the auditor’s office has been unable to have a full-time DOL agent available consistently.
“Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I had Hoquiam (agents) up here daily,” MacLean said. “But since then, it’s been kind of sporadic.”
MacLean said that once he gets an agent hired and trained, the DOL service will be “five days a week again.”
The auditor’s office is currently down to three employees. Part of the issue causing the staffing shortage was an open position that has remained unfilled since April, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, leaving the office with one DOL agent.
“Being unable to fill the first vacancy has led me to having no DOL agents in the office now because the one I had left,” he said, adding that budgetary concerns of the county commissioners at the time was the reason the position remained unfilled. “The county commissioners at the time, due to budget uncertainties, would not allow me to fill that position. … When you only have one person at the front counter doing a specific job, if they leave, you have zero, and you can’t work off of zero. Unfortunately, it was a perfect storm of COVID, the election and budget.”
Vehicle registrations can be done online at dol.wa.gov or in person at the Hoquiam Licensing Agency on Sumner in Aberdeen or at the Timberland Bank located at 313 Waldrip Street in Elma.