"The deep cuts in our office forced us to eliminate nearly all programs beyond our most essential functions." -- Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson (pictured)
Kentucky's Office of the Secretary of State announced today several changes to the office in order to increase efficiency and to adjust to "drastic budget cuts." The changes will primarily take place in the elections, notary and uniform commercial code (UCC) branches of the office.
"We have worked diligently over the last several months to make our operations even more efficient," remarked Secretary of State Trey Grayson. "Most of the changes will be of benefit to both the Commonwealth's bottom line and to citizens who interact with the office. Others, however, are just a fact of financial realities and are services that we hate to see our office lose."
The Office of the Secretary of State has made a modification to the process for acknowledgment of UCC filings. Because the office provides a redacted version of all filings online, the office will now send postcards acknowledging receipt of the filing and allow the customer to view the filing online. The current procedure is to mail a copy of the entire original filing to customers.
Similarly, the notification that a notary application has been received and that the notary commission is available for pick-up at respective county clerk offices, is also being sent via post-card. The card will still maintain the necessary information to effectively direct applicants through the rest of the notary application process.
The office launched a new election candidate filings Web service that was designed by in-house computer programmers. Previously, the candidate filings page was part of a contract service that included the first-in-the nation, Election Security Seal Program. The new page includes all information featured in previous years as well as new information such as maps of the candidate's district.
This program allows the office to implement greater efficiencies on the transmission of certified election results and recanvassed results from county boards of elections to the State Board of Elections. It also maintains digital records of candidate filings for the first time. Other improvements include an improved accounting system for candidate filings and reporting features.
The Election Security Seal Program, which had to be cut due to budget circumstances, provided an online verification assuring visitors that they were dealing with legitimate Web sites of candidates. By providing the latest in encryption services, the program helped voters and candidate become secured and certified interactive online participants.
The program saw many constitutional office candidates participate in the 2007 election cycle, including both gubernatorial nominees. The 2008 election cycle promised to have a record number of participants.
"This program, or one of a similar nature, is something we hope to offer again. However, the deep cuts in our office forced us to eliminate nearly all programs beyond our most essential functions," said Secretary Grayson.
Since Grayson assumed office in 2004, the office has reduced its number of full-time employees by 12.20 percent, eliminated nearly all part-time employees, reduced its operating budget by 9.79 percent, and consolidated the number of physical offices from two to one. During that time, the office has increased the number of new services for customers.