[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Schodack 12-9-1993 as L.L. No. 5-1993. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Public access to records — See Ch. 169.
It is the intent of this chapter that a records management program be established which will assist officials in making decisions, administering programs and providing administrative continuity with past operations. They contain the information that keeps government programs functioning. The program is intended to document the delivery of services, show the legal responsibilities of government and protect the legal rights of citizens. These records will also document the historical development of government itself, the community and the citizens of the Town of Schodack.
It shall be the responsibility of every public officer to maintain records to adequately document the transaction of public business and the services and programs for which such officer is responsible; to retain and have custody of such records for so long as the records are needed for the conduct of the business of the office; to adequately protect such records; to cooperate with the Records Management Officer (RMO) on programs for the orderly and efficient management of records, including identification and management of inactive records and identification and preservation of records of enduring value; to dispose of records in accordance with legal requirements; and to pass on to his/her successor records needed for the continuing conduct of the business of the office. Records no longer needed for the conduct of business of the office shall be transferred to the custody of the Town Clerk for their safekeeping and ultimate disposal.
Editor's Note: From Arts and Cultural Affairs Law § 57.25.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Those records which have been determined by the Town Clerk and the Records Advisory Committee to be worthy of permanent preservation and special administration because of the importance of information they contain for continuing administrative, legal or fiscal purposes or for historical or other research.
- The removal of records from town offices or from an inactive records storage center and their subsequent disposal by one of the following methods: destruction in accordance with approved records disposition schedules established by the State of New York and the Town of Schodack; sale; gift; or other authorized means; or transfer to the archives.
- Any book, paper, map, photograph, microform or other information storage device regardless of physical form of characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or in conjunction with the transaction of official town business.
- RECORDS CENTER
- A central storage facility maintained by the Records Management Officer for the efficient storage, reference servicing, security and processing of inactive records pending their ultimate destruction or transfer to the archives.
- RECORDS MANAGEMENT
- The process of systematic creation, organization, planning, maintenance, use, promotion, record preservation and periodic legal disposition of records.
- RECORDS RETENTION AND DISPOSITION SCHEDULE
- A published listing, issued by the State Archives and Records Administration or the State of New York Unified Court System, that indicates the legal minimum retention periods for local government records.
- RETENTION PERIOD
- The minimum period of time which must elapse before a record is eligible for disposition.
- VITAL RECORDS
- Those records that are essential to the continuing operation of the town. They are the records that would be required to resume and continue the operations of government after a major disaster, such as fire or flood, to protect the legal and financial interests of the town and to preserve the rights of the people.
Records Management Officer. The Records Management Officer (RMO) shall be the Town Clerk, who is legal custodian of all town records according to § 30 of the Town Law. The RMO shall initiate, coordinate and promote the systematic management of the town's records in accordance with local, state and federal guidelines.
Records Coordinator. The Town Clerk, with the consent of the Town Board, may appoint a Records Management Coordinator to exercise, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, any or all of the duties of the Records Management Officer. The compensation of the Records Management Coordinator shall be fixed by the Town Board.
Other employees. The Town Clerk may appoint such other employees as may be authorized by the Town Board to carry out the functions of the records management program.
The RMO shall develop a comprehensive records management program, including procedures manual, micrographics management, archives management, records retention periods and assistance to departments in establishing departmental records management programs to support the overall town records management program.
Town officers shall continually survey and analyze town records to establish retention periods according to the State Archives and Records Administration, the State of New York Unified Court System or the Records Advisory Committee recommendations, to determine which records may be transferred to inactive storage and to coordinate the legal destruction of obsolete records.
The RMO will operate a records center for the storage of inactive records and shall maintain physical custody of and official responsibility for all records in his/her possession.
Records which have passed their minimum legal retention period and are no longer needed for government business or for archival purpose may be destroyed according to the procedure established by the Town Clerk. No records shall be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by the Town Clerk without the written consent of the department head having authority.
The RMO shall manage an archives program, subject to space, staff and cost limitations, for the identification and administration of records with enduring value for historical or other research.
The RMO shall coordinate and execute the planning and development of advanced records management systems and equipment.
There shall be a Records Advisory Board to work and provide advice to the Town Clerk. The Board shall consist of five members, those being the Town Supervisor or his/her designee, the Town Historian, the Town Attorney or his/her designee, the Town Clerk or his/her designee and the Records Coordinator. Appointments are to be made by the Town Board. In the event that no person is filling the position of Records Coordinator, the Town Clerk will recommend a person to serve on this Board. The Board shall meet periodically and have the following duties:
Provide advice to the Town Clerk on the development of the records management program.
Review the performance of the program on an ongoing basis and propose changes and improvements.
Review retention periods proposed by the Town Clerk for records not covered by the state schedules.
Provide advice on the appraisal of records for archival value.
The custody of records shall be maintained under the guidelines established by the RMO and adopted by the Town Board by resolution.
Records stored in the records center shall come under the full custody of the RMO. The RMO will determine the method and design of storage.
Records transferred to or acquired by the archives shall be under the full custody of the archives, as directed by the RMO, rather than the department which created or held them immediately prior to being transferred to the archives.
Disposition of records. No records shall be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by a department of the Town of Schodack without prior approval of the RMO following guidelines established by the RMO and approved by the Town Board by resolution.
Historian review. Following required consents and prior to actual destruction, the RMO will allow the town Historian to review and/or remove any single document or sampling of documents that are of historic value to the community.
To comply with Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, the following format will be followed:
All requests for information shall be in writing, reasonably describing the record requested and made during regular business hours of the Town of Schodack RMO.
Within five business days of the receipt of the written request for a record reasonably described, the Schodack RMO shall make such records available to the person requesting them, deny such request in writing or furnish a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such request and the approximate date when such request will be granted or denied.
Any person denied access to a record may appeal, within 30 days, in writing, such denial to the Town Board.
The Town Board is hereby designated as the appeal agency for determination of denials and will proceed as follows:
The Town Board shall, within 10 business days of the receipt of an appeal, fully explain in writing to the person requesting the record the reason for further denial, or the Town Board shall provide access to the record sought.
The Town Board shall forward to the Committee on Open Government a copy of such appeal when received by the Town Board and shall also forward to said committee the ensuing determination thereon.
The fees for copies of records shall not exceed the fees established by the State of New York or the actual cost of reproduction of any other record, unless otherwise prescribed by statute.