Getting to Know the Alabama State Records Commission

What is at the center of the state’s government records management program? The State Records Commission (or SRC), established in 1955, oversees the disposition of all state government records. The Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) serves as support staff for the State Records Commission and provides records management assistance to all state agencies.

You can’t keep everything forever, but where can you turn for help? ADAH Records and Information Management staff, in cooperation with agency representatives, compile Records Disposition Authorities (RDAs) for state agencies. Those RDAs are then approved by the State Records Commission.

RDAs list records agencies create and maintain while carrying out their mandated functions and activities. They also establish minimum retention periods and disposition instructions for those records; provide the legal authority for agencies to implement records destruction; and identify permanent state records that will ultimately be transferred to the Alabama Department of Archives and History for preservation and public access.

The nine-member State Records Commission oversees the approval of all new and revised state agency RDAs. Commission members represent various state agencies and public universities across Alabama, including Auburn University, the University of Alabama, one of Alabama’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Department of Finance, Department of Revenue, and Examiners of Public Accounts. Steve Murray, ADAH Director, chairs the Commission.

All state agencies are required by the Code of Alabama to create an RDA. Currently, more than 170 Alabama state agencies and commissions have established RDAs through the State Records Commission. If your agency does not have an RDA, they should contact ADAH as soon as possible to initiate the development process. Even those agencies that have RDAs often find themselves in need of revising their existing retention schedules, due to changes in legislation or the discovery or creation of new types of records. All RDA revisions are written in consultation with ADAH staff and brought to the State Records Commission, which meets twice a year, for final approval.

The State Records Commission will meet on Wednesday, October 24, at ADAH in Montgomery. The agenda includes discussion of revisions to existing RDAs for several state agencies, including the Department of Commerce, Board of Medical Examiners/Medical Licensure Commission, State Board of Pharmacy, School of Mathematics and Science, and Mobile County Health Department. Meetings are open to the public.

If you have questions about the Alabama State Records Commission generally, or would like more information about updating your state agency’s RDA, please contact Rebecca L. Hebert at becky.hebert@archives.alabama.gov.

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