Michigan Secretary of State goes on hiring spree, touts faster service

Michigan's Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says she's a woman on a mission and now the department is going on a hiring spree throughout metro Detroit.

As Michigan's 130 SOS branches reopen after a lengthy shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Benson wants an up-close look at the offices. Specifically, she wants to know how the staff is executing a new service-driven operating model and, so far, things are working well.

"The efficiency levels are through the roof. We're seeing people complete 10 transactions per hour per person, which is significantly higher than in the past," she said. "Residents were coming in and out in an average of 20 minutes or less. Where it was before a 4 or 5-hour wait.

While reviewing the effectiveness, she's also listening to Michiganders who are there to renew licenses and most are happy with it.

"(It was) fast-paced. I didn't have to wait that long in and out… said Kenya Craig.

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But not all patrons were pleased

"Just now in there they want to charge us a $15 late fee for buying a vehicle 89 days ago and this being the first available time slot that we can get in," said Aaron Travers.

Benson assured this Farmington Hills resident that she is working on behalf of Michiganders and that the legislature has agreed to waive those fees.

There’s also a push to hire more workers to expand services.

"We’ve got 80 vacancies that we're working to fill throughout the state. That's going to just continue to increase the amount of people who can service the public throughout the day," Benson said.

She's also pushing for Michigan lawmakers to provide $5 million from COVID relief funds to expand the office's efforts. She said the funds will keep offices open later than 5 p.m.

Benson believes her service-driven operating model is off to a good start and will only get better with the proper support

"The bottom line is, to me, everyone is happier with this new model and we're going to continue to make improvements and continue to build out," Benson said.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson