Motor Vehicle Inspection layoffs worry many - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Motor Vehicle Inspection layoffs worry many

(WMC-TV) - The news wasn't really a surprise to employees. Although, they were already preparing for and expecting it, and now they're all trying to figure out what's next.

"I'm not worried about myself so much as I am about my co-workers," said Motor Vehicle Inspection Bureau Employee Donnie Briggs.

She's worked for the City of Memphis since 1993.

On Wednesday, she got a letter explaining that her employment is being terminated effective June 30.

"We work, they work 10 hours a day. Winter, summer, spring and fall. Missing it is not the point. Needing to have a job is," said Briggs.

Everyone she works with was also fired.

It's because the city's entire Motor Vehicle Inspection Bureau is shutting down. The city council decided to get out of the nearly $300,000 a year car inspection business.

"I think everyone in the county should pay for this service, because it's not just a Memphis problem it's an entire county problem," said Memphis City Councilman Jim Strickland.

But Shelby County officials declined to pick up the tab for the service.

The state will take over and likely bid out the work to a private contractor.

In general, it's bad news for current employees.

"First and foremost, they shouldn't have to lose their jobs," said AFSCME executive director Chad Johnson.

He said the city and county are both wrong.

"They're throwing up their hands, and saying let the state handle it. In that mix there are 47 lives that are about to be wrecked," said Johnson.

The city said 33 employees will be let go, with 13 eligible for retirement.

Regardless, Briggs and everyone else she cares about so dearly are in that number.

"They have children. They have grandchildren. They're still in school. Some of them are still trying to go to school, and they don't have anything to fall back on," said Briggs.

She's worried sick about what's next for all of them.

Right now only Memphis residents have to get car inspections.

If all goes as expected, everyone in Shelby County will have to do it and likely have to pay $10.

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