Established in 1778, and known as the Keeper of Records for more than two centuries, the Department improves the quality of life for all New Yorkers by providing a myriad of essential services and programs to local governments, businesses, community organizations and citizens.
In partnership with local leaders, DOS helps municipalities reduce costs and improve services that support local economies. It manages more than $100 million in local assistance grants and provides expert guidance and training to help hundreds of communities create more efficient, vibrant, and healthier places to live and work.
In its efforts to ensure the health and life safety of all residents, the Department oversees the enforcement practices of local governments in matters pertaining to building construction, fire prevention, and energy conservation. It also promotes business growth and oversees the licensing of 29 professional occupations from hair stylists to real estate brokers, handles corporate filings, and regulates the state's not-for-profit cemeteries.
Through its newly acquired Division of Consumer Protection, the Department serves as the state's top watchdog and think tank on a wide range of consumer issues from investigating questionable business practices, to product recalls, to helping citizens mitigate the consequences of identity theft.
The Department of State also houses, by reason of legislative appropriation, three independent commissions that perform diverse governmental functions. These are the Committee on Open Government, Authorities Budget Office, and NY State Athletic Commission.
The New York Department of State employs more than 550 employees throughout the state. Its principal offices are located in Albany and New York City, with 14 regional offices including the cities of Binghamton, Buffalo, and Syracuse.