[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Warwick 3-24-1994 by L.L. No. 2-1994. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Public access to records — See Ch. 38.
This Town Board finds that public records are essential to the administration of local government. Public records contain information which allows government programs to function, provides officials with a basis for making decisions and ensures continuity with past operations. Public records document the legal responsibility of government, protect the rights of citizens and provide citizens with a means of monitoring government programs and measuring the performance of public officials.
This Town Board hereby finds that it is the responsibility of all government employees to contribute to the accomplishment of the following program objectives:
Facilitate the creation of usable records containing accurate and complete information.
Save tax dollars through efficient administration of information resources.
Prevent the creation of unnecessary records.
Make recorded information available and readily accessible when needed, thereby minimizing time spent searching for files and documents.
Ensure the systematic legal disposition of obsolete records.
Encourage the lasting survival of archival records, those identified as having sufficient legal, administrative, fiscal or historical value to warrant their permanent retention.
To accomplish these objectives, it is necessary that the Town of Warwick establish a Records Management Program as contemplated by Article 57-A of the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Those official records which have been determined by the Officer and the Advisory Committee to have sufficient historical or other value to warrant their continued preservation by the Town of Warwick.
- Any documents, books, papers, photographs, sound recordings, microfilms or any other materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official Town of Warwick business.
- RECORDS CENTER
- An area maintained by the Town of Warwick primarily for the storage, servicing, security and processing of records which must be preserved for varying periods of time and need to be retained in office equipment or space.
- A. The removal by the Town of Warwick, in accordance with approved records control schedules, of records no longer necessary for the conduct of business by such agency through removal methods which may include:
- B. The transfer of records from one Town of Warwick department to another Town of Warwick department.
- RECORDS MANAGEMENT
- The planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promotion and other managerial use and records disposition, including, records preservation, records disposal and records centers or other storage facilities.
- Making information in records available to any Town of Warwick department for official use or to the public.
There shall be a records management program established under the aegis of the Town Board of the Town of Warwick and headed by the Records Management Officer (RMO). The Officer will be responsible for administering the noncurrent and archival public records and storage areas for the Town of Warwick in accordance with local, state and federal laws and guidelines.
The Officer shall have all the necessary powers to carry out the efficient administration, determination of value, use, preservation, storage and disposition of the noncurrent and archival public records kept, filed or received by the offices and departments of the Town of Warwick.
The Records Management Officer shall continually survey and examine public records to recommend their classification so as to determine the most suitable methods to be used for the maintaining, storing and servicing of archival material:
Obsolete and unnecessary records according to New York State Records Retention and Disposition Schedules thereby subject to disposition;
Information containing administrative, legal, fiscal, research, historical or educational value which warrant their permanent retention; or
Records not subject to disposition according to state law.
The Officer shall establish guidelines for proper records management in any department or office of the Town of Warwick in accordance with local, state and federal laws and guidelines.
The Officer shall report annually to the Supervisor and the Town Board on the powers and duties herein mentioned, including, but not limited to, the cost/benefit ratio of programs effectuated by the department.
The Officer shall operate a Records Management Center for the storage, processing and servicing of all noncurrent records for all Town of Warwick departments and offices, which records will be maintained and disposed of according to all pertinent state schedules. The Records Management Center will also contain a Town of Warwick Archives which will contain records required to be permanently retained according to said schedules.
The Officer shall perform the following functions with respect to the Town of Warwick Archives. He shall:
Advise and assist Town of Warwick departments or offices in reviewing and selecting material to be transferred to the Town of Warwick Archives for preservation.
Continually survey and examine public records to determine the most suitable methods to be used for the creating, maintaining, storing and servicing of archival materials.
Establish and maintain an adequate repository for the proper storage, conservation, processing and servicing of archival records.
Promulgate rules governing public access to and use of records in the archives, subject to the approval of the Records Advisory Board.
Develop a confidentiality policy for archival records designated confidential, provided that such policy does not conflict with any federal or state statutes.
Provide information services to other Town of Warwick offices.
Collect archival materials which are not official Town of Warwick records but which have associational value to the Town of Warwick or a close relationship to the existing archival collection. Such collecting shall be subject to archive space, staff and cost limitations and to the potential endangerment of such materials if they are not collected by the Archives.
Develop a procedure whereby historically important records are to be identified at the point of generation.
There shall be a Records Advisory Board designated to work closely with and provide advice to the Records Management Officer. The Board shall consist of five members, two shall be members of the Town Board, the Records Management Officer/Town Clerk, the Town Attorney and the Town Historian. The Board shall serve at the pleasure of the Town Board and shall meet periodically and have the following duties. The Board shall:
Provide advice to the Records Management Officer 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 Records Management Office for records not covered by State Archives schedules.
Provide advice on the appraisal of records for archival value and to be the final sign-off entity as to what is or is not archival.
The Records Management Center is the depository of all records deposited by each Town of Warwick department, which department shall retain all legal possessory interest in the records until disposal.
Records shall be transferred to the Archives upon the recommendation of the RMO, with the approval of the head of the department which has custody of the records and the approval of the Records Advisory Board. Records transferred to or acquired by the Archives shall be under the custody and control of the Archives rather than the department which created or held them immediately prior to being transferred to the Archives.
Records may be permanently removed from the Archives at the request of the RMO or the head of the department which had custody of the records immediately prior to the transfer of those records to the Archives, subject to the approval of the Records Advisory Board.
The Town Attorney may take steps to recover local government records which have been alienated from proper custody and may, when necessary, institute actions of replevin.
No records shall be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by a department of the Town of Warwick unless approval has been obtained from the Records Management Officer. No records shall be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by the Records Management Officer without the express written consent of the department head having authority.