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PRC’s move to Secretary of State’s Office coming to fruition

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SANTA FE — A plan for moving the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission’s corporations bureau into a new home is largely complete.

Starting July 1, the bureau’s employees will officially shift to Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s office in the state Capitol annex. The Secretary of State’s Office will make room for the new workers by shifting other employees into a nearby Santa Fe state government building, Duran’s chief of staff Ken Ortiz said.

All of the bureau’s current permanent employees will be moved over in the transition, Ortiz added. Salary levels are expected to remain the same.

The musical chairs were set in motion by a constitutional amendment that state voters approved last fall, calling for the corporations bureau to be transferred to the Secretary of State’s Office, which already handles many business-related services, including registering trademarks and recording liens. State lawmakers signed off on corresponding legislation earlier this year.

Proponents of the change argued that moving the corporations unit into the Secretary of State’s Office would allow businesses to take care of corporate registration requirements in one place, as is customary in most states.

However, the impending transition has not been universally embraced.

Since news broke of the impending shift, the corporations unit, which has 19 budgeted positions, has had three employees leave and an additional three or four workers take new jobs that will keep them under the PRC, the commission’s chief of staff Johnny Montoya said.

Those vacancies are being filled with temporary hires so that the secretary of state can later make her own permanent hires, he added.

“People handle change in different ways, and I think it did cause concern for some employees, while others have seen it as an opportunity,” Montoya said Tuesday.

The PRC initially offered to allow bureau employees to continue working in their existing office space, while Duran recommended they be housed in offices adjacent to the Secretary of State’s Office, which is located in the state Capitol annex.

However, discussions between Duran’s office, the Legislative Council Service and other state agencies ultimately led to the decision to move the bureau into the Secretary of State’s office itself.

Legislators approved $350,000 to help with the cost of moving the corporations bureau, though Ortiz described that as a “small portion” of the actual transition cost.

As currently structured, the corporations bureau handles business incorporations and oversees limited liability company registrations. The bureau has a rocky history, with high vacancy rates, kinks related to a new computer system and allegations of workplace bullying.
— This article appeared on page 24 of the Albuquerque Journal

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