Secretary of State
JUNE 8, 2021
Changes suggested by staff add 350,000 appointments, greeters, priority for disability placards
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson today announced her offices are adding appointments to serve 350,000 more Michiganders, greeters at office doors to assist in scheduling visits, and priority service for residents needing a disability placard.
"We were able to do this after discussions with our frontline workers who, concerned about the chatter here in Lansing to revert back to a broken 'take a number and wait' system, suggested ways they could work harder and faster to be able to handle more transactions efficiently and quickly," said Benson. "It's an extraordinary testament not just to their dedication to the department but their recognition that having residents schedule their visits ahead of time is a vastly superior way of doing business."
The three changes Benson announced were:
Benson noted that the department suffered during decades of disinvestment and neglect by the state Legislature and previous secretaries of state, who cut staff by 40 percent and closed 46 percent of offices while the state population grew 10 percent and the number of vehicles increased 25 percent. The Legislature made matters worse during the pandemic by ignoring the department's request that expiration extensions be granted on a rolling basis and instead extending every license and vehicle plate in the state to expire on March 31, placing 13 months of pent-up demand on the system all at once.
Benson said the Legislature could cut through this transaction backlog quickly by passing bills that would provide $25 million in COVID-19 relief funding for additional department staff and overtime. But she said in the absence of legislative support she would continue making improvements, and to stay tuned for additional announcements.
"I am truly grateful to the hard-working men and women who have given years, if not decades, of their lives to public service here at the Department of State," said Benson. "Whether the legislative leaders are with us or not, the people of this department will not give up on our mission of continuing to find new ways to provide convenient and efficient service to all Michiganders. And neither will I."
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