Friday, November 24, 2017
Transportation

Moms with infants told to wait outside Plant City DMV

RECOMMENDED READING


PLANT CITY — Liz Gatley needed to renew her car registration. As if that task wasn’t cumbersome enough, she says a Department of Motor Vehicles manager told her she had to wait outside until she could be served because her 1-year-old daughter was with her.

Her registration was past due. Leaving wasn’t an option, unless she wanted to continue to risk getting a ticket.

"That was the first day I could get there," she told the Tampa Bay Times.

Gatley, a mother of three from Valrico, said she and two other women with young children were sequestered under the sun Thursday because they were with young kids. Her daughter, London, quickly tore through her milk and water because she was so hot.

"One by one people leaving would tell us how disgusted they were and reassure us we were not in the wrong and we had great children," Gatley, 27, wrote in a now-viral Facebook post about the ordeal.

Hillsborough County Tax Collector Doug Belden said he’s aware of no rule that mandates people wait outside the office if they bring young children.

"I want to apologize to Miss Gatley for her bad experience," Belden told the Times on Friday. "I have reached out to meet with her at her convenience to gather all the facts. .?.?. I will take the appropriate action sooner rather than later."

DMV offices were closed Friday because of Veterans Day, but Belden said he will meet with the employee who Gatley and others said told them to go outside with their children.

"I don’t take this incident lightly," Belden said. "I’m on top of this and there will be a resolution very quickly."

Bystander Emily Cooper was troubled enough by what she saw to snap a photo of the mothers and their children waiting outside and share it on Facebook.

Cooper couldn’t immediately be reached by a reporter, but wrote in her post that none of the infants were disruptive. She didn’t even realize one of the children was there until she saw the mother get sent outside, she said.

Belden said he became aware of the incident after it blew up on social media Thursday night. He said he hadn’t heard of any similar complaints before, but people commenting on Cooper’s photo said they had witnessed similar situations before at the Plant City tag office.

Gatley said her daughter was walking between a few chairs and baby babbling to others waiting, but wasn’t screaming, crying or touching anyone. Gatley was shocked to be asked to wait outside.

"I was so mad, but I was also embarrassed and confused," she said on Facebook.

She even arrived at the DMV 10 minutes before it opened — likely hoping to make an experience nearly every driver dreads as smooth as possible.

Instead, she spent about two hours standing outside with a toddler.

Contact Sara DiNatale at sdinatale@tampabay.com. Follow
@sara_dinatale.

 
Comments
Dr. Delay: Pinellas traffic officials to tweak signals near Largo Mall

Dr. Delay: Pinellas traffic officials to tweak signals near Largo Mall

The Largo Mall entrance stoplight on Ulmerton Road just east of Seminole Boulevard has been causing traffic delays on eastbound Ulmerton at Seminole Boulevard. It appears that the light at the Largo Mall entrance is being triggered on-demand by folks...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/22/17
FDOT considers transit, other options for improving Fowler Avenue in USF area

FDOT considers transit, other options for improving Fowler Avenue in USF area

TAMPA — A new study eventually could lead to better traffic flow on Fowler Avenue while offering a variety of transportation options.The $500,000 study, to take up to 18 months, focuses on the University Area and the University of South Florida. It ...
Published: 11/19/17
Updated: 11/24/17
Mother reconciles with Plant City DMV employee who made her stand outside with baby

Mother reconciles with Plant City DMV employee who made her stand outside with baby

PLANT CITY — After Liz Gately was told to wait outside the Plant City’s Tax Collector office to renew her car registration with her 1-year-old last week, the internet fought back. Facebook posts from Gately, 27, as well as bystanders and other mother...
Published: 11/16/17
Holiday events begin, annual traffic snarls follow

Holiday events begin, annual traffic snarls follow

A few favorite holiday events are gearing up and that means impact to traffic, starting with the annual Times Turkey Trot, which will temporarily close streets Thanksgiving morning in Clearwater beginning at 6 a.m. until approximately noon. The follo...
Published: 11/15/17
Moms with infants told to wait outside Plant City DMV

Moms with infants told to wait outside Plant City DMV

PLANT CITY — Liz Gatley needed to renew her car registration. As if that task wasn’t cumbersome enough, she says a Department of Motor Vehicles manager told her she had to wait outside until she could be served because her 1-year-old daughter was wit...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/11/17
The Cross Bay Ferry won’t come back this fall. What about 2018?

The Cross Bay Ferry won’t come back this fall. What about 2018?

Still waiting for the Cross Bay Ferry to return? It’s going to be a while — say, 2018 at the earliest.The ferry’s supporters, most notably St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, had hoped to bring the boat back for another season after the first six-mon...
Updated one month ago

Work on Sunshine Skyway’s rest areas to last two more years

We often go fishing near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and are wondering what’s happening with the rest area and parking lot? It looks like there’s work going on there. How long will the rest area be closed off?Mike WalkerThis is a state Department of T...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/13/17
Hillsborough loses transit leader Katharine Eagan to a better funded agency

Hillsborough loses transit leader Katharine Eagan to a better funded agency

TAMPA — Katharine Eagan, the leader of Hillsborough County’s transit agency, is leaving the job just a month after implementing a widespread overhaul of the county’s bus network.She will take over as CEO of the Port Authority of Allegheny, Pa., which...
Updated one month ago
Speakers give mixed reviews to new Hillsborough bus-route overhaul

Speakers give mixed reviews to new Hillsborough bus-route overhaul

TAMPA — Hillsborough’s transit agency heard its first public comment Monday since overhauling its bus network and cutting about 20 percent of its routes last month.A handful of people spoke at the agency’s board meeting, with one praising the new net...
Updated one month ago
New DOT work plan includes $32 million for U.S. 41/SR 54 interchange

New DOT work plan includes $32 million for U.S. 41/SR 54 interchange

LAND O’LAKES — Twenty-one months ago, the Florida Department of Transportation said it was hitting the brakes on planning improvements at a traffic-clogged intersection in central Pasco.Instead, the DOT said it would await recommendations from Pasco ...
Updated one month ago