Monday, June 17, 2013

Getting My Money's Worth From NY State Government?

I work part-time as an unarmed security guard. Wanting to make more money, I took an armed security guard training course back in mid April through the first week of May. I shelled out $700 for the training, $47 for the change of status licensing fee, and about $200 on ammo for the course. I got my money's worth for the ammo - no surprise. I am not so sure I got my money's worth for the training course even though I previously had thought so. The instructor sent me my training certificate and was supposed to send NY State a roster showing that I had completed the training. He told the students to wait a week before sending the application paperwork to NY State because if our applications arrived in Albany before his roster for the class, our paperwork may go into the dreaded wait 6 months before anything gets done pile. I waited 10 days, then sent in my application. Not long after that, I received an envelope with my application package inside of it along with a letter explaining that the Division of Licensing Services had not received a roster with my name on it. That was at the very end of May. I sent an email to the instructor telling him what happened right after receiving that letter. I have not heard back from him.

Today I called the NYS Division of Licensing Services. The guy who answered the phone, Jim, told me that there was no record on file for my having taken the course. He suggested that I call the NYS Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Oh-oh, I figured this would soon become a dreaded bureaucratic game of ping-pong with me a the ball but I did as he told me. I called, got the usual set of prerecorded instructions and pressed 2. The lady who answered the phone, almost immediately, checked the status of the roster using my SSN. She said, yes they have it and told me they received it on June 13th! My guess would be that the roster was not in the mail since the second week of May, when it should have been sent to them but was only sent out in mid-June. The nice lady, Darlene I think she said was her name, said she forwarded it to the Division of Licensing Services (DLS) by email as we were speaking. She then took my phone number so she could call me to let me know when it was received by the DLS as that department's computer system is a bit slow. She figured though that they would receive it by tomorrow. She told me to wait until I hear back from her because if I send my application now and for some reason the roster does not go through from her office to the DLS then depending on who receives my paperwork it would either be returned to me once gain or possibly go onto the wait 6 months before anything gets done pile (yes she said it really does happen sometimes).

I guess that I will have to admit, I was happily surprised by the responses I have gotten from NYS employees. Having dealt with NY State in the past, I must point out that previous responses to my inquiries on other matters were nowhere near as fast or as good as were these today. Both Jim and Darlene immediately addressed the problem and when one could not solve it he put me through to another person who could solve it. It looks like I am certainly getting the full value of the $47 application fee. I have to tip my hat to them for that. Of course, the DLS has not yet confirmed receipt of the roster from the DCJS but I think it sounds as if it is well in the works and for that I am grateful.

As far as the company that gave the 47 hour course, I will have to still give the instructor a call to see what went wrong and why it took until June 13th for my roster to arrive in Albany. I guess I should also ask why he apparently never replied to the email I sent to him inquiring about this mess. Depending on the reply I receive when I check with him, I will determine whether or not I will take my annual refresher training with them or another company.

All the best,
Glenn B