John Merrill took office as the secretary of state in 2015, and when he did so, he quickly made one of his top priorities to completely eradicate any waiting period for Alabama citizens when it came to filing forms to create, amend or dissolve new business entities.
Merrill came in at a time when the waiting period for paperwork and payments to create a new business was seven to nine months behind. On Sept. 26, Merrill gave recognition to the employees of the Business Entities and Uniform Commercial Code Divisions for two years and three months of continuous, same-day processing of those requests.
“When I was elected as Alabama’s 53rd Secretary of State, people came to me and said not to bother trying to change the way things were done in Business Services, despite the fact these payments were being held so long,” Secretary Merrill said. “But it was totally unacceptable to me the operation was months behind – we wouldn’t accept that in any other type of commercial business, and we should never accept that in state government.”
The secretary of state’s office now operates with 25 percent fewer employees but at a much higher efficiency rate.
“Through our restructuring efforts, and thanks to our outstanding employees, we can now proudly say we have been at ‘same-day speed’ every day for the past 117 weeks.”
Merrill celebrated those employees for their service by awarding them a National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion, which is the highest honor his office can award.
The employees so honored included Renae Barron, Jim Brasher, Lovetta Churchill, Melissa Giddens, Stephanie Keithahn, Monica Messer, Tamara Moore, MeMe Mulcahy, Brianna Smith, Diane Starks, Elaine Swearengin, Christina Vandiver, Sharranda Emmerson, Beth Hall, Beth Jensen, Shirleen Moncrief and Alfreda Watts.
“Our team does a great job meeting our expectations of excellent service to the people of Alabama,” Secretary Merrill said. “We are no longer operating at the speed of government; we operate at the speed of business. That should be the type of service you demand from all state departments and elected officials. Today I was proud to honor these hard-working individuals for their service to our state.”