Handbook of Business Procedures
Jan. 13, 2006
April 11, 2011
Office of Accounting Administration Services
University departments may choose to sponsor an employee's notary public commission. This means the department is responsible for completing the appointment procedures detailed in the Notary Public User Guide. In addition, sponsoring departments must ensure the University Department System reflects the current Notary Public contact information. Questions regarding notary appointments should be directed to Administration Services in the Office of Accounting.
As a service and convenience, The University of Texas at Austin provides free notary services to faculty, staff, and students. The sponsoring department may modify the course and scope of a commissioned notary's duties during normal business hours. Some factors that might be considered include:
- Duties indicated by the employee's job description
- Department policies and procedures
- Advertising to the University community regarding the availability of notary public services
A person appointed and commissioned as a notary public for the University must be at least 18 years of age and must be appointed as a full-time employee. The University does not sponsor student notary appointments.
Texas House Bill 1203 charges the State Office of Risk Management (SORM) with overseeing the purchase of surety bonds for state officers and employees. Texas Government Code § 406.007 requires state agencies to pay only a filing fee of $11 to appoint a notary public. Therefore, The University does not purchase surety bonds for University notaries, and appointments must be made without bond. All other notary regulations must be followed.
The notary bond protects the public and is for the benefit of the State of Texas. In the event the notary fails to comply with the provisions of the law, the bond ensures that the injured person can recover at least $2,500. However, this does not protect the notary public from personal liabilities for the full extent of damages caused by a breach of official duty.
The state provides defense and indemnification to a state employee for damages, attorney's fees, and court costs adjudged against them when the damages are based on an act or omission in the course and scope of the person's employment (Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 104.001).
The term of a notary public expires four years from the date the notary public qualifies for his or her commission. The notary public's appointment certificate will detail the term of the commission.
A notary is personally liable for negligence or fraud in the performance of the duties of the office. The notary public may be subject to criminal prosecution and the revocation or suspension of his or her notary public commission by the Secretary of State's office. Fines of $10,000 or less along with a jail term of one year can be imposed for criminal violations.
The sponsoring department can only pay the filing fee of $11 for an employee to become a notary. Should the employee choose to be bonded in addition to the state employee bond, the employee would be responsible for the Secretary of State bond filing fee of $10 and the bond itself of $50.
The University does not reimburse employees for bond fees that have been previously paid for by the employee. If a department incorrectly pays the cost of the bond itself, they should contact the State Office of Risk Management for reimbursement information.
Notaries commissioned through the University are not authorized to charge for services performed within the course and scope of their employment. Employees whose notary appointment has been paid for by the University are only bonded for notary services performed within the course and scope of their employment. Therefore, they should not perform or charge for notary services outside the scope of their job duties.
Individuals will need a notary stamp that includes the statement "Notary without Bond", and record book. It is the sponsoring department's responsibility to purchase these items. Departments should not do so until the individual has received his or her Notary Commission Certificate.
Detailed instructions for completing the payment and application process are in the Notary Public Appointment User Guide.
A notary public may apply for reappointment of his or her commission no earlier than 90 days prior to the expiration of the current commission by submitting a new application and acknowledgment form to the Office of the Texas Secretary of State. If a notary public is not reappointed on or before the current commission expires, the new commission start date will be the date he or she qualifies for the new commission.
Texas Government Code § 406.019 requires a notary public to notify the Office of the Texas Secretary of State of any change of address within ten days of the date on which the change occurs. An individuals must fill out a Notary Public Change of Address form or send a letter with his or her name, Social Security number, old address, and new address the Secretary of State, Notary Public Unit.
A notary public can apply for a name change before his or her commission expires for a fee of $10.00. Sponsoring departments are not prohibited from paying for the Secretary of State name change fee. However, the name change procedure is optional because the notary public can continue to notarize in his or her old name until the current commission expires.
A commissioned notary public who terminates employment with the State of Texas will no longer be bonded by the State Office of Risk Management. He or she should notify SORM and is encouraged to voluntarily resign his or her commission upon termination with the state. The stamp is considered state property; therefore, the agency should retain the stamp if the employee is terminating employment with the state altogether.
If the employee is transferring to another state agency, the two state agencies should decide on whether to have the prior agency keep the stamp and have the new agency purchase another one, or have the new agency purchase the stamp from the old agency, etc.
Departments who sponsor employees must update the Department System indicating who in their department is a notary public contact. The Office of Accounting publishes a list of active notaries on campus based upon this information. The list is updated the first week of every month.
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