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TxDMV loses two top leaders within one week

The department's executive director and its general counsel both resigned this week.

AUSTIN, Texas — Two of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles' top leaders announced their resignations this week.

Executive Director Whitney Brewer announced hers on Monday, and the TxDMV confirmed General Counsel Tracey Beaver stepped down effective Thursday.

The department said Shelly Mellott, deputy executive director, will serve as the acting interim executive director until the TxDMV is able to find a replacement. On Feb. 11, the department announced the board selection of Daniel Avitia as the replacement.

"Avitia joined TxDMV in 2014, as director of the Motor Vehicle Division, and was named deputy executive director in 2020," the department said. "As deputy executive director he oversaw the daily operations of the agency’s finance, information technology, administrative hearings, human resources and motor vehicle licensing divisions."

Mellott will then continue her role as deputy executive director, overseeing the agency's daily operations related to vehicle titling and registration, consumer relations, enforcement, motor carrier operations, and administrative functions for the Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority.

Brewster released the following statement:

“It is with heavy and mixed emotions that I write to you today to announce my departure from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. A decade ago, I returned to Texas to lead this amazing organization full of talented and dedicated public servants. I accepted a position with this still new state agency understanding that there would be challenges and difficulties ahead in providing consistent, responsive services to more than 25 million Texans. In the years since, I have been constantly astounded and profoundly proud of the work you have all accomplished on behalf of the citizens and businesses of this great state. 

"Unfortunately, challenges and difficulties still face the state and our organization. I understand the frustrations of our stakeholders to the problems and evolving situations we are working daily to resolve. Often the hardest thing to do as a public servant leader is to step back and accept that you have done everything you can, and that it might be time to allow new leadership to take the reins and continue moving the agency successfully into the future. We have strong leadership at all levels throughout TxDMV and I have worked continuously to bring in and promote fresh perspectives and new ideas to compliment the experienced subject matter experts that we rely on to accomplish our mission and goals. 

RELATED: Texas DMV, law enforcement cracking down on unlawful use of temporary vehicle tags

"As I step down from my position as executive director, I am pleased to announce that, effective immediately, Shelly Mellott, deputy executive director, will serve as acting interim executive director until the board is able to deliberate on a permanent replacement. I am confident that Shelly’s experience and relationships throughout the department will ease this transition and serve you all in the coming days. 

The hardest part of this transition is saying goodbye to all of you, knowing I will no longer be standing with you in the trenches and working daily towards a better Texas. I have confidence and take great comfort knowing that you will remain steadfast in our goal to provide exemplary and innovative customer service in our ever growing and changing state because you genuinely believe in what we do. You are true public servants, and it has been the privilege of a lifetime to be your executive director. I know you will come together to support each other. One of the things that COVID-19 has made clear is how important it is to take care of each other and ourselves. You will never be far from my thoughts, and I will always remain in your corner rooting for your success. 

"Do not doubt that there are great things ahead for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.”

The department has been struggling with the use of fraudulent temporary tags across Texas, with Brewster posting a public notice about it in December. At the time, a public comment period was open for citizens to provide feedback on new, proposed rules.

The TxDMV board is meeting on Thursday. To view its agenda, including items on temporary tags, click here.

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