Here in Louisiana, we rely on the courts to appoint certain people of a particular character and background to be process servers under the law. But, did you know that, in many other states, process servers must be licensed, bonded, tested, certified, or registered? Many even have to pass an exam to qualify! Why is this, though? After all, the very essence of what we do is deliver papers. Doesn’t the mailman, who only has to pass the civil service test as a bar to employment, do the exact same thing?
We have a few ideas as to why this is the status quo in certain jurisdictions. Here are just a few of our sneaking suspicions:
Governments Love Bureaucracy
Government, even state governments, love institute processes to regulate matters that really don’t require oversight simply because they love bureaucracy. The processes that are put in place, therefore, reduce decision-making to a crawl and make all processes much slower than they ever needed to be. While these laws are intended to maintain control and uniformity in these matters, the reality is that they become redundant, inefficient, and, worse of all, arbitrary.
To the states that push such agendas, these procedures and sticking to the “tradition” of them becomes much more important than getting the job done efficiently. Sometimes autonomous decisions affecting the courts are better left in the hands of judges, rather than being made by a hierarchical committee of government workers. Plus, process servers mostly identify as independent entrepreneurs, and, as such, they do not subscribe to backward-looking, one-size-fits-all approaches that can be, but never are, improved upon.
Unnecessary Job Creation
Politicians are always the first in line when it comes to creating non-essential, non-existent jobs for their friends. And, when the public sector creates more jobs, it makes incumbent politicians and their administrations look good. It can also skew employment statistics in their favor artificially. So, there are many more political rewards to be reaped for state lawmakers and officials by adding new programs and expanding current ones than by eliminating wasteful, low-priority agencies.
But, if these government agencies are so superfluous, why do they continue to exist? Well, everyone is too busy looking the other way. Or, “this is the way we always did things, so why should we change things now?” Unfortunately, these lines of thinking mean that there are many folks working at these jobs that do next to nothing all day, while soaking up competitive salaries and generous benefit packages paid for by the tax dollars provided by the hardworking residents of these states, many of whom bring home significantly less money.
Government workers are given raises based on tenure, not performance, so bosses do not really censure employees when they are caught shopping online rather than pencil pushing. But, with little to do, many do spend hours watching YouTube, reading Reddit, or playing solitaire. So, taxpayers of states that subscribe to the idea of licensing and registering someone as autonomous as a process server are unaware that they are actually paying folks to sit around and feign eight hours of productivity each day.
Of course, this is the big one. While licensing fees are not necessarily taxes, per se, they are included as revenue for the state and are used to supplement public works and services which are provided by sales and income taxes. This money does a lot of good, no doubt, by providing infrastructure, state schools and colleges, road maintenance, and state police forces, and by contributing to federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid. However, taxes and fees seem to cover these costs just fine in states where excessive licensing is not required for those as self-directed as process servers. After all, there are plenty of fees collected daily such as those for drivers’ licenses, motor vehicle registration, and business registrations. Are these fees not already more than adequate to cover state expenses?
Big Brother Tendencies
Some states employ big government and the government takes this as an invitation to intrude upon the small businesses of private citizens in ways that are unnecessary. In a capitalistic system, you would think that most business owners should be able to be as independent as possible, as long as they are not harming anyone. But, in this case, a private process server is required to check in with a central authority, must pass a test that is uniform for all regardless of circumstances and background, and, if approved, will have to pay licensing fees in order to hang a shingle.
In conclusion, we at Lafayette Process Servers are fortunate that we do not have to deal with such unnecessary incompetence in our great state of Louisiana. However, it troubles us that this goes on in any state in our country. There is no valid reason (obviously, we pointed out many invalid ones) to regulate, certify, or license process servers. What we do is deliver paperwork. So, does the post office, but the federal government sees no reason to provide oversight to mail carriers.
I know many say that attorneys must pass the bar of their practice state, but that is different. They are making unilateral legal decisions that affect their clients significantly each day, and are doing so as a fiduciary. Even paralegals, which are under direct supervision of attorneys, are unregulated in all states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Why is the legal delivery person under scrutiny? It doesn’t make a lick of sense.
Give Us a Call
At Lafayette Process Servers, Scott Frank and his team have been appointed by the judicial system of the state of Louisiana. We have been in business for about two decades and we will happily take on your job serving process. Give us a call or stop in to learn more about what we can help you with today.
Donna Lee Hellmann is a New Orleans-area copywriter. The foregoing article has simply been presented for informational purposes only. She, and those at Lafayette Process Servers, are not attorneys. If you seek further information about this topic, contact an attorney in your local area.