The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 18, 2013
Poll: Will the Secretary of State reduce filing backlog to 5 days

LS_DEBRA_BOWEN.JPGThe Assembly today voted to send $2 million ASAP to Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office for extra help to work down a six-week backlog of business filings.

Assuming the Senate and Gov. Jerry Brown also approve the measure, Bowen will use the money to pay staff overtime and hire temp help to jump on the mountain of mail immediately.

Lawmakers also are weighing a recommendation that they allocate an extra $6 million to $9 million in fiscal 2013-14 for Bowen to hire another 68 employees.

Those staff would take either two-year or three-year positions dedicated to processing business filings until the state brings an automated filing system online in 2016.

Bowen has told lawmakers she needs that much money and help to shrink the filing wait time to five business days by November and then to keep it there. Texas processes similar business filings in a week or less and uses an automated online filing system. California business filings are on paper. The department uses 3-inch by 5-inch index cards for some record-keeping.

The quickest average turnaround time for business filings since Bowen took office in 2006 has been 20 days. She has blamed budget cuts a few years ago for pushing the average delay to more than 80 days. Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez transferred money from from the Assembly's operations budget to help knock that backlog down to its current levels.

PHOTO CREDIT: Debra Bowen speaks at a legislative hearing in 2012. Lezlie Sterling / Sacramento Bee file

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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