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Records Management for Election Records

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Presentation on theme: "Records Management for Election Records"— Presentation transcript:

1 Records Management for Election Records
Presented by Michael Reagor, Government Information Analyst Texas State Library and Archives Commission https://www.tsl.state.tx.us/

2 Agenda What is Records Management Records Retention
(“How long do we have to keep this?”) Records Disposition Managing Electronic Records Resources

3 About Us Records Management Assistance unit
6 Government Information Analysts serving: 150 state agencies 10,000 local government entities Consulting and Training Retention, destruction, imaging, managing , disaster preparedness and recovery, filing systems, preservation Rule Development 1,500 records series for local governments Standards for managing e-records, microfilm, inventory

4 WHAT IS RECORDS MANAGEMENT? (and why bother?)

5 What is Records Management?
“The application of management techniques to the creation, use, maintenance, retention, preservation, and disposal of records for the purposes of reducing the costs and improving the efficiency of recordkeeping.”

6 Why do we have RM laws/rules?
Open Meetings Act (Government Code Chapter 551) Public Information Act (Government Code Chapter 552) Local Government Records Act (Local Government Code Chapters )

7 Local Government Records Act
Effective & economic government operations Preserve records of permanent value Establish standards and procedures Local Government Code, Chapters

8 Records retention

9 Local Government Record
Documents the transaction of public business Is created or received by a local government Is a record whether it is open or closed May exist in any medium What is considered a record? (CLICK) A local government record is any recorded information that documents the transaction of public business. (CLICK) It is created or received by a local government. So, something that a government employee creates him- or herself, or, say, an application that a citizen submits to get a permit or a rebate, a transcript from a previous school, etc. (CLICK) Anything meeting these criteria is considered a record even if it contains confidential information. So, the fact that it might be exempt from a Public Information Request does not take away from its status as a record. It’s still a record even if it contains confidential information. (CLICK) And a record exists in any medium – paper, electronic, sound recordings, videos… This means that most s are records. Telephone messages can be records. DVDs contain records.

10 “Non-Records” Convenience copies: “Extra identical copies of documents created only for convenience of reference or research” (Local Government Code § (8)(A)) Copies of documents furnished to the public as part of a Public Information Act request There are a few categories of information that are NOT considered “local government records.” These are our “non-records.” This would include: (CLICK) Convenience copies: extra identical copes of documents created only for convenience of reference or research. (CLICK) Also not records, are copies of documents you produce for a Public Information Request. The written request for copies of your records, correspondence with the Attorney General to determine whether the records are open or closed, those are records. But the copies that you make to fulfill the request are not.

11 “Non-Records” Blank forms/stocks of publications
Library or museum materials Alternative Dispute Resolution working files Other things that are non-records would include: (CLICK) Blank forms or extra copies of publications. (CLICK) Library materials, or 3-dimensional objects like trophies or this old police uniform are not records. (CLICK) And finally, alternative dispute resolution working files – the Local Government Records Act is specific about the “non-record” status of these. (If anyone is curious: Dispute Resolution Court is an alternative to settling a dispute without filing charges on one person or the other. If the dispute is resolved, then the case goes away. If a solution is not resolved, then charges will be filed. The records created during the mediation between the two parties are not kept. Via Beth Burns, Lubbock County,

12 Designating a “Record Copy”
Which copy of a record needs to be kept for the full retention period? So you might be wondering – maybe you have multiple copies of something and want to know if you have to keep all of them the same time in the same way. Well, remember: we’ve said that convenience copies are not records. You only need to retain one copy of any given record. So…which copy will that be? Whose copy? WE don’t really care who keeps it and how, as long as one copy is kept. But in order to control the proliferation of information – especially in a digital environment where there can easily be 17 copies of something scattered across a shared drive – we recommend that you: 1) Decide whose copy will be the so-called “record copy”; and 2) Decide what format the “record copy” will be in. Could be paper, could be electronic, could be on a VHS tape – but decide which one is the official record copy. (CLICK) In this example, we’re circling the copy on the networked server. We probably did this because the server is backed up nightly and there’s less chance of losing this record this way.

13 Definitions Retention Period: The minimum amount of time you are legally required to keep a record

14 Definitions Record Series: A group of records, all with the same function, regardless of format Examples of record series: Case papers Correspondence: sent, received, paper letter sent or received, form letter, internal memo… Employment applications: application form, letters of reference, writing samples, transcripts…

15 How to read a record series
Unique # assigned to this record series by TSLAC What TSLAC calls this series The scope of the series: what kinds of records would be classified here Minimum amount of time you have to keep these records Statutes that govern the retention of this record series and other notes about retention added by TSLAC. Record Number Record Title Record Description Retention Period Remarks EL a CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS AND FILINGS Campaign Contribution and expenditure statements (including annual reports of unexpended contributions) Date of filing + 2 years. By law – Election Code, Section

16 Retention Codes AV – As long as Administratively Valuable
The record’s immediate purpose has been served. You may destroy it whenever it ceases to have value to your office. FE – Fiscal Year End The last day of the fiscal year. US – Until Superseded The record is replaced by an updated version.

17 Records Retention Schedule
A document that lists the records series of an organization, with mandatory minimum retention periods for each records series. TSLAC Local Schedules 12 schedules Include 1,500+ records series Mandatory minimum retention Same retention regardless of medium Available to print from website Now, a Records Retention Schedule. This is a document that’s really at the heart of your records management program. A retention schedule lists all of the records series of an organization, with their mandatory minimum retention periods. TSLAC publishes 12 retention schedules for Local Governments. The 12 schedules include over 1,500 records series. They tell you the mandatory minimum retention period for each record series, and they are available on our website.

18 Local Retention Schedules
GR – General Records CC – County Clerk DC – District Clerk EL – Elections/Voter HR – Health JC – Junior Colleges LC – Justice/Municipal Courts PS – Public Safety PW – Public Works SD – Schools TX – Taxation UT – Utility Services These are the twelve schedules. Everyone uses Local Schedule GR (CLICK) – those are records common to all local governments. That includes things like meeting minutes, correspondence, employee files, and accounting records. Beyond that, the retention schedules you use depend on the functions of your government. Some of them are obvious – County Clerks will use Local Schedule CC, District Clerks will use Local Schedule DC. Sheriff’s offices and municipalities with police departments use Schedule PS – records of public safety. All taxing authorities use Schedule TX – records of property taxation. Anyone dealing with elections will use Schedule EL. The link at the bottom of the page will take you to our website with links to all the schedules.

19 Local Schedule GR Retention Schedule for Records Common to All Local Governments Part 1: Administrative Records Part 2: Financial Records Part 3: Personnel and Payroll Records Part 4: Support Services Records Part 5: Information Technology Records

20 Local Schedule EL Retention Schedule for Elections and Voter Registration Part 1: Election Records Part 2: Records of Candidacy and Campaign Finance Part 3: Voter Registration Records

21 Records Disposition

22 Disposition Benefits Creates physical space Reduces costs:
Physical storage Network server storage Protection E-Discovery Speeds up retrieval Provides legal protection Why do disposition? Why bother? (CLICK) Well, probably the most immediate benefit – it creates room. It reduces physical storage costs: (CLICK) buying file cabinets, making space for them, paying to store records, etc. (CLICK) Electronic storage is cheaper than paper storage in a lot of cases….unless you never dispose of electronic records. At our agency, which has about 150 employees, we spend $1.7 million every 4 years on electronic storage. Storage costs add up – especially when you’re storing records that have met retention, are convenience copies, or aren’t even records. (CLICK) We talked about needing to protect your records from temperature and humidity, disasters, mistakes like accidental deletion, security breaches, etc. Those costs add up. (CLICK) If you’re ever sued, your e-discovery costs will be much lower if you do disposition. (CLICK) As volume of records increase, retrieval slows down: that hurts your efficiency. Disposing of records speeds up retrieval. (CLICK) And disposition provides some amount of legal protection, as we discussed.

23 When To Do Disposition Maintain regular schedule
Fiscal Year End Calendar Year End Slow time of year Do not wait until you run out of room Does anyone here have a set-aside time of the year when you do your Records Disposition? Shred Days, or Spring Cleaning? It does help to have scheduled days – at least once a year. A logical time to do it might be at fiscal year end, especially for all those records with “FE” based retention periods. Or, you could use calendar year end – here, we do it at the beginning of January because it’s usually a pretty slow time. Or, just pick a time of year that your office is slower than usual and do it then. Schools usually do it during summer vacation. But don’t wait until you run out of room, because… Then you’re going to be disposing of records in crisis mode, and you’re probably going to end up accidentally destroying something you shouldn’t. And also, it looks bad. Having a regular disposition program makes the destruction of records something that’s routine – and that records in your government are destroyed properly, in the normal course of business.

24 Types of Disposition Archival Transfer Destruction
We’ve talked about this already when we talked about the Records Life Cycle – that there are two types of disposition: Transfer to Archives and Destruction.

25 Transfer to Archives Change of ownership
To approved receivers, after retention has been met and with RMO’s approval: public institution of higher education; public museum; public library; or other public entity Local Government Code § : Alienation of Records Transferring records to an archives usually involves a change of ownership: the Archives typically takes legal custody of those records. Any record can be transferred to a public entity once its retention period has been met. That public entity might be a state university, a public museum, a public library, or some other kind of public entity. Permanent records are handled a little differently. Their retention periods are never met, of course. But they may be transferred to either TSLAC or to another local government that operates an archives, library, or museum that meets the storage standards outlined in Bulletin F, which we are going to talk about. Keep in mind that transfers of records to another local government doesn’t require prior approval by TSLAC but should be documented internally by one or both local government or public entity. Once the records are transferred to the archives, the title, control, and all rights pertaining to the records are vested in the archives. You transfer not only physical custody, but legal custody as well. One example of an archival transfer– SARA (San Antonio River Authority) donated its archival records to UTSA. It’s important to remember that if you give a record to a private entity, or if records are given to a private individual, that’s considered Alienation of Records under LGC

26 Destruction: Paper Records
Confidential records Shredding Pulping Burning Open records Recycling Landfills That was the Archival Transfer piece of disposition. Now, Destruction. We’ll start by talking about methods. (CLICK) For confidential records in paper format: These records must be destroyed by: (CLICK) Burning (CLICK) Shredding or (CLICK) Pulping Sometimes people ask us if we recommend a method? The answer is really no, whatever works for you. If you’re burning make sure there are no ordinances prohibiting it. (CLICK) Open records – records that are open to the public and do not contain confidential information. Burning, shredding, pulping = good. Possibly even advisable. (CLICK) You can destroy open records by recycling them or burying them in a (CLICK) landfill. The only disadvantage to destroying records by recycling/landfill burial is that you have to make sure they don’t blow out the back of a recycling truck, that they’re being reasonably protected while they’re in transit.

27 Destruction: Microforms
Microfilm Entire rolls 5/8 in. Cross-Cut Microfiche Shred twice 3/8 in. Cross-Cut Now, destruction methods for microforms. There aren’t any rules for this, just industry standards. Microfilm – Rolls Industry standard on this is that you shred them at 5/8” cross-cut. Microfilm – Sheets Industry standard = shred them twice. The first time at 5/8” cross-cut, then shred the remains at 3/8” cross-cut. You might have to have a vendor do that for you; you don’t have to. The reason there are these standards – if you put a microform through a shredder that shreds it into strips, someone could still be able to read the information on it. So, just sending it through a regular shedder doesn’t cut it, so to speak.

28 Disposition Process Internal approval Disposition log
Now we’ll wrap up disposition by talking about setting up some procedures and documentation for disposition: Internal approvals; and Keeping a disposition log.

29 Internal Approval RMO should verify eligibility for destruction against retention schedule Might be signed by: Department head/ program manager Financial officer Legal counsel Destruction of records shouldn’t be done without the right documentation and without the RMO’s knowledge. The departmental liaisons on your Records Management Team are usually the ones preparing the lists of records ready for destruction. But then, there might be others on your “RM Team” who should have sign-off authority before destruction happens. The first thing for the RMO to do is going to be to check the retention schedule. Make sure the records are actually eligible for destruction. (CLICK) (CLICK) It’s a good idea to have each department head review the list of records about to be destroyed, because if there’s some upcoming project that might require the use of those records, probably the department head will know about it. (CLICK) If you have a financial officer – it’s not a bad idea to have them review the list – if you’ve got some old financial records that have been requested for an audit, you can’t destroy them. (CLICK) Not a bad idea to have your legal counsel review this as well – they will know about any ongoing or impending lawsuits and the records that would be requested as part of the lawsuit.

30 Records Disposition Log
Records series title Dates of records disposed Date of disposal Volume of records disposed Disposal method Approval signatures You want to keep records of what you’re disposing of. This is useful information to have in the future, when a record is requested. What should you record? Go to next slide – Sample Disposition Log.

31 This form is called a Records Disposition Log
This form is called a Records Disposition Log. There is a copy of this in your Appendix. First you’ve got authorizing signatures – this template has signature lines for the RMO, departmental manager, and legal counsel. You can see that this form is very similar to the inventory form. The first 3 columns are taken from the Retention Schedule: Record #, Title, Retention Period. Dates of Records – What is the date range of the records being destroyed?  Disposition Method – Consult the codes at the bottom of the page. This is where you indicate how you’re getting rid of the records – burning, shredding, recycling, deleting, transferring to Archives, etc. Volume (cf) – How much are you destroying?  2 boxes? 6 MB? 1 file folder? How you want to calculate the volume is up to you. Actual Disposition Date – This is the date the records were physically destroyed or delivered to Archives. See Att  - Put an X in this field if you are attaching additional information – special authorizations, a detailed inventory, etc.

32 RMO’s disposition log Just wanted to show you another approach. At our agency, the disposition logs are filled out by employees and departmental liaisons. But only the RMO can actually authorize destruction. That’s done with this Disposition Log. It lives on our Intranet and can only be accessed by departmental liaisons and the records manager. Liaisons enter the records that need to be destroyed. The RMO is the only one who can actually approve that destruction. Once she does, it generates an that she then forwards to the liaisons saying “Okay, go ahead and destroy the records.”

33 Destruction Holds It is illegal to destroy any record that is involved in ongoing: Litigation Claim Negotiation Public Information Request Audit DESTRUCTION HOLD You cannot get rid of a record that’s responsive to any active or impending litigation. You cannot get rid of a record that’s been requested as part of a Public Information Request. And you cannot get rid of a record that’s been requested as part of an audit, claim, or negotiation. Now a question for you: What if the record has met retention but wasn’t destroyed? If you get a request for an old record that’s met retention, can you just delete it? Nope, that is a definite go-to-jail action.

34 RECORDS WITH SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

35 Records with Special Requirements
Confidential Permanent Microfilm Electronic Essential Some additional considerations for the care and feeding of certain types of records, like Confidential Permanent Microfilm Electronic Essential

36 Confidential Records Secure environment Follow security procedures
Office of the Attorney General https://www.oag.state.tx.us/open/index.shtml (877) OPEN-TEX ( ) CONFIDENTIAL RECORDS It is a legal requirement to safeguard records against unauthorized access – especially any record with confidential information. Now, that’s all the law says. How you safeguard records is a professional judgment call. Paper records with sensitive information need to be kept in locked areas, or at least where they are only accessible to people who are authorized to use them. Confidential electronic records need to be available only to authorized users too. An employee’s Social Security Number should only be accessible to the staff who needs that information, like HR or Accounting. IT is usually responsible for setting permissions to restrict access to information, so this is something that the Records Manager can work with IT on. As far as public access to confidential information, that (CLICK) is the purview of the Office of the Attorney General. We refer all questions about what is and isn’t exempt from the Public Information Act to them.

37 Permanent Records H.B took effect September 1, Text: TSLAC shall adopt rules for storage of permanent and historical court records. Bulletin F (created in cooperation with Local Government Records Storage Task Force) published April Rules go into effect April 2015. PERMANENT RECORDS Again, one of the reasons for the establishment of the Local Government Records Act is to protect records of permanent and historical value. There was a bill that passed in the 2011 Legislative Session that mandated permanent retention of all court documents created in 1950 and earlier. The bill applies to case papers, trial dockets, or any case from any time period that might have historical significance, for example if Bonnie & Clyde got a parking ticket or the case sets a legal precedent. That law mandated that the State Library adopt rules for the storage of these permanent records. And the Library already had a mandate from an earlier law that required us to establish storage rules for permanent records. So the Library assembled a Task Force made up of representatives from TAC, TML, Tx Conference of Urban Counties, County and District Clerks Association of Texas, and County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas. They all got in a room and agreed to propose the following MINIMUM standards for storage: Storage should offer protection from fire, steam, structural collapse, and theft. No contact with the floor. If you have records on the floor and get so much as 1” of water – it can cost hundreds of hours, or thousands of dollars, to recover those records. And it set some building standards for any new storage buildings constructed after the effective date. The rules are effective two years after adoption and they were adopted in April So, you have until April 2015 to start complying with those rules and get your boxes off the floor.

38 Permanent Records Storage Webinar: Importance of proper storage
Storage standards Minimum conditions Optional enhanced conditions Funding sources We did a webinar on these storage rules in July (2013). This covered the new rules in more depth, including the two tiers of rules (mandatory and optional). It also talked about the importance of proper storage and some potential funding sources to cover any costs associated with upgrades. You can access the archived recording of that webinar at the link here.

39 Microfilm Records Bulletin A: Microfilming Standards and Procedures Temperature not over 70 degrees Constant 35% humidity Retain masters offsite Some of your permanent records might be saved on microforms – microfilm or microfiche. If so, there are rules specific to storing microforms; those are published on our website as Bulletin A. Since a lot of folks don’t use microfilm as actively anymore, I’m just going to go over the rules quickly. Wherever you store microfilm, the temperature cannot exceed 70 degrees. The humidity should stay at a constant 35%, because fluctuations can cause damage to the film. The reason for these climate control rules is – microfilm will become brittle and break if it gets too hot, or if there are temperature fluctuations. High humidity will cause mold. For essential records stored on microfilm, you’re required to store a “security copy” offsite. At the State Records Center, for example! (Some legislation passed in 2011 that allowed the State Records Center to store records for local governments, so a few counties have already started sending their microfilm backups to us.) It’s recommended that you keep only a convenience copy onsite, and keep the originals and a security copy offsite.

40 Essential Records Records needed to:
Respond to an emergency (building maps, contact information) Resume or continue operations (payroll, contracts, delegations of authority) Protect the health, safety, property, and rights of residents (birth/marriage records, active court proceedings, voter registration records) Document the history of communities and families (town charters, photographs) Identify and store backups offsite ESSENTIAL RECORDS. For the next two slides, I’m only going to touch briefly on the “special requirements” because these requirements are so special that we devote entire classes to them! (CLICK) Essential Records are records needed to: (CLICK) Respond to an emergency (like building maps, contact information) (CLICK) Resume or continue operations (payroll, contracts, delegations of authority) (CLICK) Protect the health, safety, property, and rights of residents (birth/marriage records, active court proceedings, voter registration records); and (CLICK) Document the history of communities and families (town charters, photographs) (CLICK) It’s critical that you identify which records are essential for your offices, then put some protective measures in place. We also have a few archived webinars on various disaster-related topics.

41 Electronic Records Bulletin B: Electronic Records Standards and Procedures E-records must be available, accessible, usable for full retention period Store backups offsite And finally Electronic Records. Again, there are so many special requirements that we have this afternoon’s class to cover them. Bulletin B contains the laws of the Local Government Code and rules of the Texas Administrative Code for scanning, storage, maintenance, security, and several other aspects of electronic records management. At the heart of those rules is this: Whatever format you store a record in, it has to be available, accessible, and usable for its full retention period. If you’ve stored all of your records on a single magneto-optical disk, then you’d better make sure you have a plan for accessing that magneto-optical disk forever. Again, it’s a good idea to store backups of electronic records offsite – maybe to a network server, maybe to the cloud. No matter what disaster strikes, you have to make sure you can continue operations, and that’s probably going to require working from backups, or keeping a duplicate copy of everything in another location. (Don’t read unless someone asks) Image: the first computer bug. It’s from Harvard University, 1947 – A moth got trapped between the points of one of the relays of this very primitive computer they’d developed. The technician took out the moth and taped it to their log, and that’s where “computer bug” comes from. The computer model: “Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator” First computer “bug,” Harvard University,1947

42 Resources

43 I want more training! Archived Webinars: Records Retention 101
Managing Storage Rules Long-term preservation Imaging projects Shared drive management Disaster recovery/salvage And others… https://www.tsl.texas.gov/slrm/webinars/index.html

44 I want to stay informed! Read our blog, The Texas Record
Retention rule updates New training classes available Analyst tips Subscribe – we’ll you new posts https://www.tsl.texas.gov/slrm/blog/

45 I want to find my analyst!
Find the analyst assigned to your county: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/slrm/local/countylist.html

46 Questions? Michael Reagor Government Information Analyst
State and Local Records Management Texas State Library and Archives Commission (512) https://www.tsl.texas.gov/slrm


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