City of Scranton, PA
Lackawanna County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Scranton as Ord. No. 83-1980 (Ch. 2, Art. V, of the 1979 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 366-1 Short title.

This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Municipal Records Law."

§ 366-2 Definitions.

The following words and phrases, whenever used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly states otherwise:
CITY ARCHIVIST
That person who is originally appointed by the Mayor of the city and shall have the power and responsibilities of overseeing the enactment and enforcement of this chapter.
CITY ARCHIVIST REPORT
Contains any and all records determined by the city archivist, in accordance with the Records Retention Schedule, to be subject to destruction.
CURRENT RECORDS
Records of that year and/or records of a policy nature. All current records should be maintained by the Department or Bureau of their origin. Records that are of a policy nature must be retained in their original until they are superseded.
HISTORICAL RECORDS
Any information which is, will be or could be important to the economic, political or social historian.
MUNICIPALITY
The City of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and any municipal authority created by the city.
NONRECORDS
Those records of an ephemeral nature which are created for convenience in the day-to-day operation of the city and which do not affect the rights of the public. Examples of such records are suggested in the following list, which is not intended to be inclusive:
A. 
Copies of filed papers, the originals of which are retained in another office.
B. 
Duplicate copies of documents retained in the same office.
C. 
Shorthand notes and stenotapes which have been transcribed.
D. 
Drafts of letters and reports, interdepartmental memos, personal correspondence, etc.
E. 
Unused forms which have been revised or superseded.
F. 
Catalogs, magazines and published material kept for office use only.
PUBLIC RECORDS
Any papers, books, maps, photographs or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by a municipality or a municipal government agency in pursuance of law or in connection with the exercise of its legitimate functions and the discharge of its responsibilities.
RECORDS RETENTION SCHEDULE
That schedule which is included in § 366-11, and any and all amendments, deletions or corrections thereto.

§ 366-3 Certain records to be disposed of.

Certain public records, archives or printed public documents in the custody of any person or office shall be destroyed, sold or otherwise disposed of if the disposition is in conformance with schedules and regulations which shall be made and promulgated by the City Archivist with the approval of City Council.

§ 366-4 Procedure for disposal.

Disposition of city records shall be by the following procedure:
A. 
The City Archivist shall determine in accordance with the Records Retention Schedule which records should be destroyed, microfilmed, preserved or otherwise; and shall be required to compile a report as to those records which are subject to destruction. The City Archivist's report shall contain as to each record subject for destruction:
(1) 
A description of the record sufficient for identification.
(2) 
Date of the record.
(3) 
Intended date of destruction.
(4) 
Method of destruction.
B. 
The City Archivist shall forward his report to all department heads for review. A department head will have twenty (20) days from receipt of this report in which to advise the City Archivist that he does not wish a certain record within the report to be destroyed. Failure to respond within said twenty-day period will be deemed an approval of the City Archivist report.
C. 
The City Archivist shall submit his report to the City Council for their approval. The City Council will have thirty (30) days from receipt of this report in which to approve or disapprove said report. Failure on the part of the Council to disapprove the report within said time period will be deemed approval of the same.
D. 
All records that have been classified unnecessary and subject to destruction by the City Archivist will be listed in the City Archivist report and available for public inspection during the same thirty-day period in which said report is before the City Council.
E. 
The City Archivist shall advertise in two (2) public newspapers of general circulation as to the contents of his report, and when and where said report can be examined.
F. 
The City Archivist, after receiving approval of the report from City Council, shall file it in the Office of Judicial Records of Lackawanna County and shall maintain a certified copy of said report as an official city record.

§ 366-5 Review and approval of schedule.

No such retention schedule, amendments, deletions or corrections shall be operative, unless reviewed by the City's Law Department and approved by City Council.

§ 366-6 Failure to approve.

If the City Council fails to approve the retention schedule or any amendments, deletions or corrections thereto within a thirty-day period after being submitted to the City Council, that schedule or its amendments, deletions or corrections shall automatically become law.

§ 366-7 Historical documents.

Any historical document shall be retained in its original after microfilming and stored by either the city or an agency deemed appropriate by the city. The city retains the ownership rights to any document which is stored by an outside agency. The City Archivist will make the determination as to what is an historical document.

§ 366-8 Public inspection; exception.

For purposes of public inspection, the "right-to-know law" has defined what public records shall mean. Any record of public expenditures, be they money or services, is subject to disclosure, as are those records which fix the personal or property rights of an individual or group of individuals. The law excludes from public disclosure those records which may harm a person's reputation or security. This means that only when it is clear that such disclosure would come within the exclusion described can a request to inspect public records be denied. If any doubt exists, the question should be resolved in favor of disclosure. It should be noted that where public records are involved, no special reason need be given by the inquiring party to inspect such; a simple expression of interest will suffice.

§ 366-9 Records used as evidence in court.

In the event of any such destruction or other disposition of any public records under the provisions of this chapter, the photograph, microphotograph or microfilm or a certified copy of said photograph, microphotograph or microfilm shall be receivable as evidence in any court or proceedings, and shall have the same force and effect as though the original record had been produced and proved.

§ 366-10 Liability of municipal officials.

No municipal official shall be held liable on his official bond or in the way of damages for loss or in any other manner, civil or criminal, because of the disposition of public records pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

§ 366-11 Record retention schedule.

A. 
Interpreting. The following procedures are to be used in interpreting the municipal record retention schedule:
(1) 
Any record which has exceeded the maximum retention period should no longer be considered an official city record.
(2) 
Records which have exceeded the maximum retention period do not have to be microfilmed. They must only be listed for disposition.
Example:
Police complaints of 1945. These records have exceeded the maximum retention period ten (10) years and are therefore no longer official city records.
(3) 
Records which are within the retention schedule may be microfilmed and/or destroyed as per the procedure described and governed by the City Archivist, this chapter and the Records Retention Schedule.
B. 
Classes of records. Municipal records have been arranged into the following nine (9) classes: legislative affairs; general administration and legal; public safety; public works; public health; building and zoning regulations; recreation, shade trees and libraries; planning and development; authorities (general municipal records pertaining to authorities; as units of local government, authorities follow the same retention and disposition schedules as other).
(1) 
Legislative affairs:
Type
Retention Period
Minutes of legislative body
Permanent
Ordinances and resolutions
Permanent
Bylaws and rules of order
Until suspended, plus 5 years
Public hearings, notice and transcript
Current, plus 10 years
Legislative investigations, reports
Current, plus 10 years
Executive veto and message
Current, plus 10 years
Committee minutes, reports, transcripts of committee hearings
Current, plus 5 years
Draft proposals for legislative enactment
Current, plus 5 years
Reports to legislative body of executive and administrative officers, departments, boards and commissions
Current, plus 2 years
Petitions, complaints, inquiries and routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
(2) 
General administration and legal records:
Type
Retention Period
Charter, charter amendments and corporate name changes:
Formal records
Permanent
Charter commission minutes, hearing transcripts and reports
10 years
Annexation, consolidation and boundary change records
Formal records
Permanent
Petitions, correspondence, notices, public hearing transcripts, etc.
Date of action, plus 5 years
Deeds and related land records
Permanent
Bonds, municipal
Bond ordinance and register
Permanent
Opinions, approvals and redemptions
Issue closeout, plus 5 years
Bonds, performance and security, and insurance policies
Expiration date, plus 10 years
Franchises, leases and licenses
Permanent or continuing
Permanent
Annual or short-term
Expiration date, plus 5 years
Court petitions, decrees and orders
Permanent
Solicitor's opinions
Basic law
Permanent
Temporary in character
Current, plus 5 years
Litigation, records pertaining to
Close of case, plus 20 years
Lien dockets
Date of settlement, plus 5 years
Bids and contracts
Formal
Current, plus 10 years
Informal
Current, plus 5 years
Notices, correspondence, purchase orders, etc.
Current, plus 5 years
Property and supply inventory
Current, plus 5 years
Administrative studies, surveys and reports
Current, plus 10 years
Operating reports of departments
Current, plus 2 years
Executive proclamations and reports
Current, plus 2 years
Financial records
Budgets and budget messages
Current, plus 5 years
Annual financial reports
Current, plus 10 years
Tax duplicates, appeals, settlements
Current, plus 5 years
Canceled checks and bank statements
Current, plus 5 years
Daily cash records
Until audited
Journals and ledgers
Current, plus 10 years
Miscellaneous records
Until audit, plus 1 year
Notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Personnel records
Individual employee records
Until retirement, plus 10 years
Pension plans and transactions
Permanent
Classification and pay plans, personnel rules and regulations
Until superseded or canceled, plus 5 years
Payrolls and payroll transactions
Current, plus 10 years
Applications for employment (not hired)
Current, plus 1 year
Civil service commission
Minutes
Permanent
Appeals, removals, etc.
Current, plus 5 years
Notices and routine correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
(3) 
Public records:
Type
Retention Period
Police records:
Complaints and investigations
Current, plus 10 years
Arrests, detentions and hearing dockets
Current, plus 20 years
Probation and parole reports
Current, plus 20 years
Radio and television logs
Current, plus 2 years
Traffic and parking violations
Current, plus 2 years
Dog law enforcement
Current, plus 2 years
Bicycle registration
Current, plus 2 years
Traffic surveys and signals
Current, plus 10 years
Personnel education and training:
Individual records
Retirement, plus 5 years
Materials and course outlines
Current, plus 5 years
Routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Fire records
Fire-fighting log and records
Current, plus 10 years
Fire investigations
Current, plus 20 years
Special reports and investigations
Current, plus 10 years
Fire prevention activities
Current, plus 5 years
Fire prevention code
See ordinances
Personnel education and training
Individual records
Retirement plus 5 years
Materials and course outlines
Current, plus 5 years
Routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
(4) 
Public works:
Type
Retention Period
Streets, bridges, storm sewers and sidewalks
Engineering and survey notes and drawings
Permanent
Opening orders and deeds of dedication
Permanent
Construction plans and specifications
Until reconstruction or abandonment
Construction bids received
Until audited, then destroy
Construction testing and inspection reports
Acceptance of project, plus 20 years
Maintenance records
Until reconstruction or abandonment
Street opening permits
Current, plus 5 years
Equipment records
Life of equipment
Complaints, routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Refuse collection and disposal
Engineering notes and drawings
Permanent
Construction plans and specifications
Until reconstruction or abandonment
Construction bids received
Until audited, then destroy
Maintenance records
Until reconstruction or abandonment
Refuse volume or weight records
Current, plus 2 years
Equipment records
Life of equipment
Licenses and permits
Annual
Current, plus 5 years
Continuing or permanent
Permanent
Complaints, routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Public buildings
Construction plans and specifications
Until reconstruction or abandonment
Maintenance records
Structural
Until reconstruction or abandonment
Routine
Current, plus 5 years
Space allocation and use records
Current, plus 10 years
Routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Sanitary sewers and sewage disposal
Engineering and survey notes and drawings
Permanent
Sewer rights-of-way and easements
Permanent
Construction plans and specifications
Permanent
Construction bids received
Until audited, then destroy
Construction testing and inspection reports
Acceptance of project, plus discretion of agency
Maintenance records
Current, plus 10 years
State permits and approvals
Permanent
Plant operation records
Daily, current, plus 2 years Monthly, current, plus 10 years Yearly, permanent
Equipment records
Life of equipment
Sewer assessment records
Current, plus 20 years
Sewer rental records
Current, plus 20 years
Complaints, routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Water supply and distribution
Engineering and survey notes and drawings
Permanent
Deeds and easements
Permanent
Construction plans and specifications
Until reconstruction or abandonment
Construction bids received
Until audited, then destroy
Construction testing and inspection reports
Acceptance of project, plus discretion of agency
Maintenance records
Current, plus 10 years
State permits and approvals
Permanent
Plant operation records
Daily, current, plus 2 years Monthly, current, plus 10 years Yearly, permanent
Equipment records
Life of equipment
Water line assessment records
Current, plus 20 years
Water meter readings and billings
Current, plus 5 years
Complaints, routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Other utilities (Parallel to sanitary sewers and sewage disposal and water supply and distribution with changes applicable to function)
Engineering and survey bids and drawings
Permanent
Deeds, rights-of-way and easements
Permanent
Construction plans and specifications
Permanent or until reconstruction or abandonment (depending on function of utility)
Construction bids received
Until audited, then destroy
Construction testing and inspection reports
Acceptance of project, plus discretion of agency
Maintenance records
Current, plus 10 years
State permits and approvals
Permanent
Plant operation records
Daily, current, plus 2 years Monthly, current, plus 10 years Yearly, permanent
Equipment records
Life of equipment
Assessment records
Current, plus 20 years
Rental records
Current, plus 20 years
Readings and billings
Complaints, routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
(5) 
Public health:
Type
Retention Period
Board of health
Minutes
Permanent
Rules, regulations and orders
Until superseded or voided, plus 5 years
Reports and recommendations
Current, plus 10 years
Department of health
State permits and approvals
Permanent
Reports to state departments and agencies
Current, plus 10 years
Complaints and investigations
Current, plus 5 years
Health inspections
Routine reports
Current, plus 2 years
Compliance notices
Current, plus 10 years
Licenses and permits
Annual
Current, plus 5 years
Continuing and permanent
Permanent
Routine notice and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Housing code enforcement
Complaints and investigations
Current, plus 2 years
Orders and appeals
Current, plus 10 years
Reports and recommendations
Current, plus 5 years
Routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
(6) 
Building and zoning regulations:
Type
Retention Period
Applications for building and zoning permits
Current, plus 20 years
Building plans, permits and inspections
Until demolition
Occupancy and use permits
Until revocation
Zoning board of adjustment
Minutes
Permanent
Hearing transcripts
Permanent
Decisions on appeals
Permanent
Records in court cases
Current, plus 20 years
Routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
(7) 
Recreation, shade streets and libraries:
Type
Retention Period
Parks and playgrounds
Park and recreation board
Minutes
Permanent
Rules and regulations
Until revocation
Recommendations and reports
Current, plus 5 years
Routine correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Program records
Current, plus 5 years
Facilities
Construction plans and specifications
Permanent
Operation and maintenance records
Current, plus 5 years
Shade tree commission
Minutes
Permanent
Rules and regulations
Until revocation
Operation and maintenance records
Current, plus 10 years
Routine notices and correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Libraries
Library commission
Minutes
Permanent
Rules and regulations
Until revocation
Recommendations and reports
Current, plus 5 years
Libraries
Construction plans and specifications
Permanent
Operating and maintenance records
Current, plus 10 years
Book inventory
Kept current
Book purchases and disposal
Current, plus 10 years
Records of library use
Current, plus 5 years
(8) 
Planning and development:
Type
Retention Period
Planning
Planning commission or department
Minutes or committee actions
Permanent
Basic studies
Permanent
Comprehensive or master plans
Permanent
Special reports and recommendations
Current, plus 10 years
Routine correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Land subdivision control
Rules and regulations
Until superseded
Subdivision applications, plans and permits
Permanent
Improvement installation agreements
Current, plus 20 years
Notices and routine correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Real estate registry
Basic plans, registry book and formal change of ownership records
Permanent
Notices and routine correspondence
Current, plus 2 years
Community development programs
Low cost and public housing programs
Proposals
Current, plus 5 years
Projects
Permanent
Neighborhood improvement programs
Proposals
Current, plus 5 years
Projects
Permanent
Urban renewal programs
Proposals
Current, plus 5 years
Projects
Permanent
(9) 
Authorities (as units of government):
Type
Retention Period
Authority
Formal organizational and financial agreements
Permanent
Municipal copies
Authority minutes
Permanent
Authority financial statements
Current, plus 10 years
Authority reports
Current, plus 5 years
Routine correspondence
Current, plus 2 years