Arizona Weights and Measures Department folding, duties moving

Investigating complaints about gasoline prices not matching those posted is among the duties of the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures. Citing the need for efficiency, Gov. Doug Ducey is dissolving the agency, and other agencies are absorbing its duties and personnel.(Photo by Jesse Millard/Cronkite News)

The state agency that investigates rogue moving companies, makes sure you get the gas you paid for at the pump and offers other consumer protections is set to shutter its doors next year.

Gov. Doug Ducey is closing the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures with a stated goal of making state government more efficient.

Andy Tobin, who took over as director of the Department of Weights and Measures in January, said all of the agency’s functions will continue elsewhere.

“We want the consumer to clearly know that this isn’t going away,” he said.

The transition began in August, when three employees overseeing vehicle-for-hire licensing for livery services, taxis and limousines moved to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Those services are now available through ADOT’s website.

The Department of Agriculture is taking on the rest of the agency’s duties and personnel.

Tobin said the administration remains committed to the oversight provided by Weights and Measures staff, noting that the agency added two inspectors this year and is replacing an inspector who retired and another who left.

The department, founded in 1987, keeps between 17 and 21 inspectors on staff, he said.

“We’re doing more with less, and we’re getting to the focus of the agency, and that’s protecting the consumer,” he said.

Duties heading to the Department of Agriculture include investigating complaints about grocery store scanners and gasoline pumps charging incorrect prices and propane tanks not being filled to the stated amounts. Another is making sure gasoline blends protect air quality.

The transition is supposed to be completed by July 1 of next year. In the meantime, the work includes transitioning IT infrastructure down to server space and email addresses, said Laura Oxley, a Department of Agriculture spokeswoman.

“We don’t have an exact finish date at the moment. We want to make sure it works and doesn’t impact the public,” she said.

The Weights and Measures duties fit right in with the current regulatory duties the Agriculture Department, Oxley said.

Asked for comment on the transition to the Department of Transportation, spokesman Ryan Harding responded with an email saying in part, “While the Department of Weights and Measures doesn’t officially dissolve until July 1, 2016, ADOT wants to make sure the transition is as seamless as possible for all involved – especially the taxi, limousine and livery vehicle companies.”

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