We're not sure what to make of Secretary of State Al Jaeger's decision to cut his office's hours for a second time to give employees uninterrupted time to catch up on paperwork, but how did we let the problem get to this point?
Jaeger's office is now open to the public from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Jaeger had earlier declared that the office would be closed on Mondays except for deliveries.
The reasoning: The office has been swamped with paperwork to process, including new business registrations, contractor license applications.
Certainly the reduction in hours isn't very user-friendly to members of the public, or businesses owners who need to drop off or pick up paperwork. It means anyone needing something from Jaeger's office had better do some advance planning to make sure they're heading to the office during one of the 20 hours a week it's actually open to the public.
We realize the office staff has been bombarded with new work related to the booming oil industry, but there must be a better solution than closing the office doors. We're not a big fan of boosting government payrolls, but perhaps this uptick in work should have been better anticipated during the previous budget cycle, and more employees could have been added to the office. Is there no way to now appeal to the governor for emergency funding to hire more employees?
We fully agree with Jaeger that the office must get caught up on its work as we speak, businesses are waiting on state forms and other paperwork to be processed by the Secretary of State's office. But this problem didn't exactly sneak up on anyone; it's been growing for some time. Perhaps these drastic measures taken by?Jaeger could have been avoided with better planning and budgeting.