Updates from the State Records Commission: October 27, 2021

February 1, 2022

The Code of Alabama 1975 § 41-13-21 entrusts the State Records Commission (SRC) with the duty of determining “which government records shall be permanently preserved…and which may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of.” The SRC carries out this essential work during biannual meetings. The Commission’s second meeting of 2021 was held in October via a publicly accessible online teleconference. Governor Kay Ivey’s August 13, 2021 proclamation permitted commissions to meet and establish a quorum electronically in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Read on for an overview of the events of the October 27, 2021 meeting.

New and Revised State Agency RDAs
The SRC revises and approves Records Disposition Authorities (RDAs). RDAs describe the records state agencies create, identify which should be preserved permanently, and provide disposition procedures for temporary records. On October 27, 2021, the SRC approved revisions to the RDAs for the Alabama Office of the Secretary of State, Alabama Board for Registration of Architects, and Alabama Department of Revenue. Additionally, the commission approved a new RDA for the Alabama Department of Commerce-Workforce Development Division.

Alabama Secretary of State (Revision)
The Office of the Alabama Secretary of the State (SOS) predates the establishment of the state of Alabama when the federal government created the position of territorial secretary. In 1819, the newly formed state of Alabama charged the State Secretary with the duties of keeping a register of all official acts and proceedings of the Governor and attesting to the Governor’s signature. The role of the Secretary of State and the duties of the Office has significantly expanded since that time. There are more than 1000 specific duties undertaken by the office of the Secretary of State. A short overview of these duties include:

  • Administration of federal and statewide elections
  • Maintaining Alabama land records
  • Maintaining and distributing copies of legislative acts and resolutions
  • Handling filing of business entities and trademarks, trade names, and service marks
  • Maintaining Uniform Commercial Code Filings

The revision to the SOS’s RDA accounts for changes in record-keeping practices, offers guidance to staff in managing their records, and expands or adds descriptions to encompass the duties not recognized in the previous RDA.  

A page from the Secretary of State’s 2020 Annual Report.

Alabama Board for Registration of Architects (Revision)
The Alabama Board for Registration of Architects was founded in 1931 amid a nationwide movement to formalize architectural licensure. The Alabama Board for Registration of Architects protects health, safety, and welfare through the regulation of architects in Alabama. The RDA’s revisions include adding a new record series that addresses records related to the registration of intern-architects. Intern-architects possess a professional degree, are actively enrolled in the national Architectural Experience Program, and work under the supervision of a registered architect in Alabama. Intern-architects were previously not included in the RDA.

Alabama Department of Commerce Workforce Development Division (New)
The Alabama Department of Commerce is a critical state agency in Alabama’s executive branch that assists the growth of Alabama businesses and the workers that sustain their operations. The State Records Commission approved RDAs for the Film Office within the Department of Commerce in 2011, and later the department’s Business Development Division in 2018. The remaining division of the Department of Commerce which was not yet covered by an RDA was the Workforce Development Division. This Division administers various types of funding on behalf of the state and federal governments. Federal agencies which grant funding to the Workforce Development Division include, but are not limited to, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education. The new RDA offers guidance to Division staff in managing their records as they coordinate with federal, state, and local partners across Alabama. 

Alabama Department of Revenue (Revision)
The Alabama Department of Revenue administers the revenue laws of the state to fund governmental services through the collection, distribution, and enforcement of taxes.  The Department of Revenue has several divisions that offer services to taxpayers including, but not limited to, the Motor Vehicle Division, Business & License Tax, Sales & Use Tax, Office of Taxpayer Advocacy, Property Tax, Entity Registration & Processing Services, and Collection Services. The RDA’s revisions included removing discontinued or suspended taxes, incorporating changes to processes and procedures because of the adoption of the Revenue Integrated Tax System database, and consolidating record series generated by multiple divisions within the Department of Revenue.

The cover of the Department of Revenue’s Annual Report from 2008.

Capstone Status Report
Records Management staff provided an update to the SRC on the continued discussions with state agencies regarding the proposed implementation of the Capstone approach to email retention. First introduced at a 2017 SRC meeting and conceptually modeled after the Federal Capstone Approach, this retention strategy identifies select key email accounts as permanently valuable while classifying the remainder of agency emails as temporarily valuable. In 2021, state agencies were asked to complete a survey put together by ADAH Records Management staff which presented two potential arrangements for implementing Capstone.  Fifty-three state agencies responded to the survey.  Some agencies voiced concerns about confidential information contained in emails and the ADAH staff determined that one approach to preventing the loss of electronic records would not work for all agencies. ADAH staff will continue to collaborate with state agencies and update the SRC on Capstone.  

General Schedule Status Report
Currently, Alabama state agencies have individual RDAs, but agencies share common types of records. When edits are needed for these common records such as financial documentation, the revisions must be applied to over one hundred eighty documents which is time-consuming. For this reason, the Records Management Section is working on a long-term project of creating a general schedule for these recurrent records. By offering a consistent retention and disposition for records commonly produced by state agencies, a general schedule will allow revisions approved by the SRC to be made more quickly.  An agency will still consult their individual RDA for any record not addressed in the general schedule. The Records Management section will consult with several state agencies while creating the general schedule and has begun to reach out to the agencies to arrange meetings.

Next Meeting
The first meeting of 2022 will be held on Wednesday, April 20,2022, at the Alabama Department of Archives and History building. Interested individuals are encouraged to attend.

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