[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.]
This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Municipal Records Law."
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 Records that are of a policy nature must be retained in their original until they are superseded.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.
- The City of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and any municipal authority created by the city.
- 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- E. Unused forms which have been revised or superseded.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.
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.
Disposition of city records shall be by the following procedure:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No such retention schedule, amendments, deletions or corrections shall be operative, unless reviewed by the City's Law Department and approved by City Council.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Interpreting. The following procedures are to be used in interpreting the municipal record retention schedule:
Any record which has exceeded the maximum retention period should no longer be considered an official city record.
Records which have exceeded the maximum retention period do not have to be microfilmed. They must only be listed for disposition.
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.
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).