The fallout from the state's first Furlough Friday this fiscal year made for long lines at DMV offices on Monday -- and lots of catching up for employees.
The "dark day" on Friday backed up tens of thousands of appointments and made for a miserable Monday on both sides of the counter.
Having re-instituted three Furlough Fridays a month last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expects to save the state $1.4 billion, which is less than 10 percent of California's $19 billion budget deficit.
There were immediate signs of hidden costs to the public and public servants on Monday.
"I've been to two offices downtown already, and they sent me here," said East Village resident Chelsea Batten.
Dozens of drivers, car owners and ID seekers were angry, frustrated and hot on Monday, stuck in lines outside DMV offices for up to an hour. Once inside, many waited for another hour or two to complete the process.
Stressed-out DMV workers are trying to maintain accuracy while speeding up things to keep the appointments backlog halfway manageable. Union reps said that management is offering -- and workers are accepting -- counseling services.
A worker who lost her house after Furlough Fridays reduced her income 15 percent last fiscal year said she had just began to feel a little financial relief when the furlough days were re-instituted.
"That paycheck in July? The one month that we did work full-time?" said DMV field representative Jennifer Ruiz. "It was like a breath of fresh air. I was able to just say, 'OK, I could pay this now' -- a bill I haven't been able to pay in awhile. I've been calling 'em and asking them for their understanding in cutting me a break somehow."
Ruiz said she would like to file for bankruptcy but that she doesn't have the upfront cash required to begin the legal proceedings.
State agencies have written form letters for employees to forward to their creditors, outlining the budget-imposed fiscal hardships and asking for helpful payment plans.