Archive for January 2010

State Turnaround Times

Well, we’re wrapping up the first month of the new year and I am happy to report that we are seeing some improvements in the economy and hearing good things from some of our clients about their businesses improving – two things that give me a very positive feeling as I look further into the year and beyond.

That said, I am still concerned with the ability of our governmental agencies to handle the volume of a growing workload as the economy begins to pick up and improve. I’ll use the California Secretary of State (CA SOS) as an example. At the end of the calendar year things tend to get a little wild in the corporate-filings division. Volume rises dramatically, special date requests are more frequent and the number of expedited filings increases. In past years, the CA SOS has accommodated this boost in business by working overtime – especially on weekends – to get the backlog completed and get back to business as usual.

With the state’s poor budget and mounting deficits, the CA SOS can no longer utilize overtime as they have, so timeframes have jumped exponentially. Documents that used to take five to seven business days to process are now taking 15 business days. As of today, January 27th, the state is working on documents filed on January 7th. I’m not sure how long it will take them to work through the holiday workload and bring the timeframes down to a reasonable range. The CA SOS isn’t even participating in furloughs as most other state departments are. What would things be like if their staff was taking an additional two days off a month?

While most states are not faced with quite the fiscal crisis that California is, many are still confronted with some significant financial belt tightening, which may well affect the turnaround times on document filing and retrieval. We are monitoring state timeframes on a daily basis and will continue to provide our clients with estimates based on the most up-to-date information.

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