LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Tuesday the state is adding thousands of appointments at branch offices.
Benson said there will be 350,000 additional appointment slots for branch offices through the end of September, half of those will be next-day appointments. She says it will increase the number of people the department will be able to serve by 25%.
“There are appointments for everyone. These are simply new slots that have been made available specifically by taking what previously were 20-minute slots and shortening them down to 10-minute slots,” Benson said during Tuesday’s press conference. “Because again, our staff has said, you know what, we can take something that takes us 20 minutes and we will work extra efficiently to get it done in 10 and find other efficiencies as well so that we can essentially cut that appointment time in half and free up another 10 minutes to serve someone else.”
Greeters will also be added at dozens of the department’s busiest offices to get people helped right way. If customers can’t be helped immediately, greeters will help in scheduling a return visit.
Benson also announced that people who need disability placards will be prioritized when they visit any branch office. Scheduled visits are preferred but not required.
To get an appointment, go to the online booking page or by calling 888.SOS.Mich.
The initiatives announced Tuesday are three that Benson said the department can enact immediately with more to be announced in the future.
“We are making improvements to our department in the absence of any support from the legislature. We are going it alone, but we don’t have to. The inefficiencies that we have talked about these last few months were the direct result of decades of disinvestment and neglect in this department by the legislature and previous secretaries,” Benson said Tuesday.
The announcement comes after Benson testified before the state House of Representatives Oversight Committee last month, defending her decision to move all branches to an appointment-only system.
There have been complaints that the system takes months to get an appointment.
She says the appointment-only system actually allows branches to serve 10% more people each month and pointed out that next-day appointments are released each day. The Secretary of State’s Office has also moved a number of services online or to self-serve kiosks, or made transactions possible by mail.
=Watch a replay of the press conference below.=