From Camel To Car, Dennis Murphy Gets Behind Wheel Of Troubled DMV

Stafstrom, Murphy, camel
Dennis Murphy joined his spouse John Stafstrom, 2013 Barnum Festival ringmaster, for a camel ride at Ringmaster’s Ball. Murphy will now ride driver’s seat of DMV.

He has served as deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor for five years, has even filled in as acting commissioner and now Bridgeport resident Dennis Murphy will try to steer the Department of Motor Vehicles in the right direction after another Bridgeport resident Andres Ayala resigned as commissioner following a troubling year at the helm that led to long lines and short tempers from the public. Governor Dan Malloy announced on Monday that Murphy will serve as acting commissioner of the DMV starting February 12 until he names a permanent leader of the agency.

“Dennis is exceptionally smart, driven, and capable,” said Malloy in a statement. “He has the management abilities to lead the agency until we find the right person to fill this important role on a permanent basis. He has been an outstanding public servant, and I thank him for taking on this job.”

“I’m proud of my five years of service at the Department of Labor,” said Murphy. “We have led the nation in programs such as Step-Up, which gets people back to work, programs to ensure the integrity of the unemployment system to reduce fraud, and expanding our capacity and effectiveness to ensure that people who work get paid what they deserve. I want to thank the highly talented and dedicated staff at all levels for their hard work and steadfast focus on the customer. In my short assignment at the DMV, I hope to provide the Governor and the next DMV Commissioner opportunities and pathways forward in that agency for continuous improvement.”

Murphy, a graduate of Fairfield University and Boston University School of Law, is no stranger to Bridgeport government. Shortly after Joe Ganim was elected in his first tenure as mayor in 1991, he appointed Murphy director of Labor Relations. Murphy served as the point person negotiating union concessions while Ganim pulled the city out of federal bankruptcy court placed there by his predecessor Mary Moran. Ganim then elevated Murphy to chief administrative officer overseeing department heads. Murphy left Bridgeport to join Malloy’s mayoral administration in Stamford as director of Human Resources.

Murphy is the spouse of former Bridgeport Democratic Town Chair John Stafstrom, a partner at the Bridgeport-based law firm Pullman & Comley which serves as city bond counsel. Both were early supporters of Malloy for governor.



  1. Interesting choice and implications for Bridgeport. Have seen Mr. Stafstrom and Mr. Murphy at a local gym. One of my New Year’s Resolutions, get back to the gym.

  2. I served on the City Council when Dennis was CAO, and I can attest to his impeccable performance and professionalism. My interaction with him was that of an elected member of the Council, so I experienced first-hand his intelligence, ability to address matters in a quiet manner, but extremely effective. They called him a tough task-master, but that’s what was needed to keep business and departments flowing in a civil, successful manner. While Bridgeport lost Dennis, I never went anywhere, and I don’t know of anyone since who filled his shoes.
    He did all that without letting politics affect his judgment. If anyone can fix the problem at the DMV, Dennis can.

  3. And he is a constituent and Lisa would like his vote in the DTC Primary. Thank you very much.
    PS Dennis, if you need a ride to vote or an Absentee Ballot because you’ll be out of town working in Hartford on primary day, just give Lisa a call and she will drop off an application and be happy to pick it up when completed.

  4. Seriously, I do think Dennis will do a very good job. I believe Dennis has the ability to view a problem from the various angles. He will look at all facets both internally and from the public’s point of view.
    First and foremost he will need to establish the public’s trust and respect in the system. And necessary in establishing this strong customer service.
    People do not like the DMV. But if they are greeted with a smile and respect it goes a long way even if you tell them they have been waiting in the wrong line for the past 30 minutes.

  5. Competence and conscience are essential ingredients it seems to addressing this substandard situation, but are even they a match for the CT DMV? Stay tuned. And good luck to Mr. Murphy.

  6. *** The word is temp “acting commissioner” until a permanent leader is picked by the Gov. So it really doesn’t matter whether he sinks or swims, no? *** EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED! ***

  7. Nobody sees the irony. Hasn’t Stafstrom been one of Ayala’s advisers and probably played a role in Ayala getting the position? It doesn’t make (financial) sense he would resign a position that far outweighs (out pays) any of his other state employment considering he needs his three highest paid years to consider his pension comfortable. To be replaced by someone he considers a friend/adviser can’t feel good. Hopefully this can help some see what is what.

  8. Murphy’s Law, everything east of the San Andreas fault will fall into the Atlantic.

    Dennis Murphy’s first day as Commissioner of the DMV.

    [Over the loud speakers] NUMBER 1423 PLEASE REPORT TO WINDOW 14.

    Sister Mary Francis: Good morning, kind sir!

    Dennis Murphy: How are you this lovely day, Sister?

    SMF: Oh, I had better thank you!

    DM: My name is Dennis Murphy, I’m the new Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and I’m here learning the job from the ground up, so to speak.

    SMF: I must say! I can’t wait to tell Mother Superior I had the new Commissioner of the DMV helping with our registration and I’m sure she would have sold her Rosary beads to be here, you know I waited in line for over three hours just to get our new vehicle registered today.

    SMF: I could have easily made two stations of the cross in that time alone, sir!

    SMF: Oh! Mother superior would love to know if that Registrar Santa Ayala had anything to do with these new DMV computers!

    DM: No sister, I can assure you she’s only flucking up the Registrar’s office!

    SMF: Oh heavens!!! Mr. Murphy, did you just curse at me?!

    DM: I don’t think so, Sister!

    SMF: I’m sure I heard the F-bomb coming out of your mouth, Mr. Murphy!!!

    DM: Now Sister, do you have your insurance card for this vehicle?

    SMF: I think it’s in with all the other papers, Mr. Murphy. And I still think you cursed at me under your breath, sir!

    DM: Sister, I’m sorry but I have a slight case of Tourette’s and once in a while I’ll let go with a few choice words, it only happens when I get nervous.

    SMF: I’ll say a prayer for you at tonight’s novena.

    DM: Thank you Sister, I need all the help I can get! One other thing, you forgot to have the seller sign the flucking title over.

    SMF: Oh my Mr. Murphy, again you let one slip. I’ll have to take my business to another window!

    DM: Just make sure you get a new flucking number at the back of the flucking line, okay, Toots?!

    DM: NEXT!!!


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