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State vs Employer – Who Dictates my Notary duties?

As I have traveled across the state of Iowa, speaking with and instructing Iowa Notaries Public, I have heard stories of challenges encountered by Notaries. Due to the lack of training provided in the past and the lack of ongoing training, Notaries, their employers and the public are often misinformed or maintain many misconceptions of the role of the Notary Public and who dictates their role, their responsibilities and the procedures by which they perform their duties.

I have traveled to Hawkeye Community College in Cedar Falls, Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids and Iowa Valley Community College in Marshalltown. The participants in my classes were very engaging! I love it!

I asked all attendees to fill out a questionnaire that helps me to know if the class was beneficial and anything I may be able to do to make the class better. These questionnaires added the journal as part of the course materials and added the Iowa Notarial Act Chapter 9B into their book.

One item disturbed me on the questionnaire. One of the questions I ask is:
Do you feel this class will help you perform your duties better?
To which the response from one individual was: Duties are dictate by my employer.

This answer tells me I failed this student in conveying the proper information, in conveying the role of the notary, the responsibilities of the notary. An Iowa Notary Public is appointed by the Iowa Secretary of State and their notarial duties are dictated by the Iowa Secretary of State and the Iowa Notarial laws of the state of Iowa. An Iowa Notary’s performance is not dictated by the employer.

While the Notary may be acting as a Notary at the request of the employer and only in respect to their employment, the state of Iowa dictates the duties and procedures to be followed as a notary public, not the employer.

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