Beauty industry professionals have complained that their applications for new licenses, license renewals or license transfers from other states into Mississippi have sunken into a bureaucratic morass at the Board of Cosmetology.
Several state senators and representatives say their constituents’ calls and emails have been ignored by the agency. Calls from some top lawmakers who are in charge of the state budget were not returned under previous directors.
Republican Sen. Michael Watson of Pascagoula said that starting early this year, he received complaints from people who were unable to get their licenses, despite passing exams and submitting the proper paperwork. Watson said his calls were often not returned before the most recent director left in May.
“I’m nobody special,” Watson said. “But, when I’m trying to help a Mississippian, I expect you to respond because that’s your job.”
Sharon Clark became the new executive director July 10 after a nearly 30-year career working in finance, marketing and licensing in the private sector and for other state government agencies. She told The Associated Press that with the new computer system now running at the Board of Cosmetology, she and others on staff are steadily working to clear a long list of license applications that have been in limbo.
Some cosmetologists have been working under temporary licenses while the problems are being resolved. Clark said her goal is for the agency to clear the licensing backlog by mid-August.