State of the Empire

Twenty years ago I could see the changing business horizon in my field and I decided to take steps in order to remain competitive into the foreseeable future.  I own and operate a small business in upstate New York that at that time conducted insurance adjustments, appraisals and investigations exclusively for insurance carriers.  I determined that the addition of a private investigators licensure would expand my customer base as well as its reach.  With that, I could work for attorneys, municipalities, as well as local, state and federal governmental agencies.

I carefully reviewed the license application instructions and determined that I was more than qualified by experience and education.  It was also clear to me that the entire licensing process in NY had been drawn around the concept that retired police officers would be given carte blanc entry into the field, needing to do nothing more than take a test and make the application.  What I failed to notice that the rules for attaining the license were not only pro-police but anti-everyone else.  I found this out when my initial application was denied.

I filed an appeal and the person handling my file demanded scores of files in order to review my past investigatory cases.  I complied.  She demanded even more.  I again complied.  She denied the license again.  I appealed.  This time it went to an Administrative Law Judge, (ALJ) for a formal hearing.  The judge reversed the State and my license was issued, some 18 months after the initial application.

 Fast-forward to the present.

 I continue to hold my private investigators license in New York, (NY) and now I am also licensed in Colorado, (CO.)  Renewal of both are due in the spring at about the same time. 

 Here is how it works in NY.

A paper renewal package arrives via US mail.  This must be completed using a pen, hand-writing various bits of information and hand-checking off various boxes.  A surety bond must be secured, (again, in pages of physical paper,) and it must be notarized and then include into the returned-by-snail-mail process.  This package of material must arrive at least 6-weeks before the expiration of the license, or you are assessed an additional $100.00 on top of the $500.00 license renewal fee.  The bond is another $100.00.

A week after sending my NY renewal package back to the state, it was returned to me.  The reason?  My bonding agent had included my mailing address on the bond and not my physical address.  No indicators in the instructions that this was a requirement, and furthermore, the state already has this information in the myriad of other paperwork I have had to submit to them over the years.  The bonding agent has to prepare a bond rider and then the entire package is re-mailed back to the state and the late fee of $100.00 tacked on as a thank you gift.

I am then reminded, in thick black print that I am prohibited from practicing without my renewed license and if history is any indicator, I should receive it in 6 to 8 weeks.

 Here is how it works in CO.

An email arrives in my inbox indicating it is time to renew my CO private investigators license.  A link is included that tells me what I need to have at the ready for making my renewal and then asks if I want to continue.  I do, and the entire renewal process takes all of 15-minutes, all done on-line in real time.  I elect to pay with my credit card and my license is created and printable immediately. 

 Oh, and the fee?  $16.00

 NY is the most cumbersome and over-regulated bureaucratic juggernaut that exists within the 50-United States.  No wonder people are voting with their feet and leaving by the thousands every week.  In a recent dust-up between NYS Governor Cuomo and the federal government concerning the use of federal funds to help NY during this pandemic, Senator Rick Scott of Florida, (as well as the former governor of that state) had the following comments about NY leadership.  I think his words are right on and are excerpted here from his recent Wall Street Journal editorial.

“New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said it was “irresponsible” and “reckless” not to bail out states like his, a state with 2 million fewer people than Florida and a budget almost double the size of ours. The opposite is true. It’s irresponsible and reckless to take money from American taxpayers and use it to save liberal politicians from the consequences of their poor choices.”

 Bingo.

 This pandemic will provide Cuomo with the perfect storm of political slight-of-hand.  He will blame all of his fiscal mismanagement on the pandemic while simultaneously carving out his own TV mini-series that should be entitled:  I’m Running For President.”

 Frank Sinatra famously sang about New York claiming that…”if you could make it there you could make it anywhere…” and he was right.  Given persevering under the rule of Covid-King Cuomo, anywhere is looking better and better.

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