Updates from the Local Government Records Commission: October 26, 2022

The Code of Alabama 1975 § 41-13-21 delegates determining the permanency of local government records in Alabama to the Local Government Records Commission (LGRC). The Commission held its second meeting of 2022 in October at the Alabama Department of Archives and History Building in Montgomery. The meeting utilized a hybrid in-person and electronic presence format as allowed for by Alabama Act 2022-421. Read on for an overview of the October 26, 2022 meeting.

Revision to Local RDAS
The LGRC revises and approves Records Disposition Authorities (RDAs). There are several reasons that a local RDA would need to be revised. These revisions may originate with contacts’ questions, may arise as part of internal ADAH records management review processes, or may be necessitated by changes in legislation or policies either within or affecting the agency.  At this time, there are 18 local RDAs, and a revision may apply to all, some, or just one RDA. Here are the revisions approved during the meeting.

Revisions to All or Multiple RDAs

  • “Comprehensive Plans” (new record series)
    This new series incorporates comprehensive plans into the County Commissions and Municipalities RDAs. Comprehensive plans are long-term documents with a broad scope including, but not limited to, goals for zoning, community development, and economic activity. An example of an activity that may be detailed in a comprehensive plan is a municipality’s strategic objective to repair sidewalks. Comprehensive plans are assessed as permanent to document how a local government plans to proceed with development within its borders.

  • “Internal Audit” (new record series)
    This revision adds a type of audit previously not included in the Municipalities or County Commissions RDAs. Before this revision, the RDAs only included a record series representing audits for overall financial conditions. An internal audit is a systematic evaluation designed to improve operations. This series should be retained for seven years after completion of the audit based on guidance from the Institute of Internal Auditors.

Revision to Boards of Education RDA  

  • “Student Records” (revised record series)
    These revisions provide clear guidance on which records are to be maintained by schools in a student’s permanent record and which records previously listed as part of this series are now explicitly temporary. The following records have been assessed as part of a student’s permanent record:

    • Identifying Information
    • Scores on standardized tests taken during high school
    • Scores on writing assessments conducted during high school
    • Cumulative cards
    • Final grades
    • Graduation/termination data

Revision to County Commissions RDA  

  • “Senior Center Administrative Reports and Files” (revised record series)
    This revision adds a note to the “Senior Center Administrative Records” series to specify that the financial records created by Senior Centers fall under another subfunction. The note directs records managers to refer to the appropriate series for financial records.

Revision to County Probate Offices RDA

  • “Statements and Reports, Including Amendments, Required of Principal Campaign Committees and Political Action Committees” (revised record series)
    This revision updates language to accurately reflect where local campaign expenditure statements and principal campaign committee reports will be filed. Historically, candidates for local office filed their campaign expenditure statements and reports for principal campaign committees with the county probate judge. This process will change due to the passage of Alabama Act 2021-314. Beginning August 2023, these specific records will be filed directly with the Secretary of State’s office. No changes were made to the retention of those records, but the revision clarifies that probate offices will not continue to receive new filings after August 2023.   

Revisions to Law Enforcement RDA

  • “Evidence and Supporting Documentation” (new series)
    Alabama Act 2021-481 set new requirements for how long sexual assault evidence collection kits, associated test results, and related records must be kept. This revision addresses the new requirements and updates the series’ existing title and language. The series title has been updated from “Exhibits of Evidence,” which misleadingly suggested the scope of the series was restricted to evidence used in court proceedings, to “Evidence and Supporting Documentation.” The expansion ensures that all evidence is included with retentions that reflect the requirements of Alabama law and the Administrative Office of the Courts’ Court Records Retention schedules.  

  • “Activity Reports – Field Investigation Reports” (revised record series)
    Field investigations by local law enforcement agencies are routine official interactions between local law enforcement agencies and the public that do not result in immediate arrest or prolonged detention and do not escalate to a criminal investigation. Previously, the type of routine report documenting these interactions was not included in the Local Law Enforcement Agencies RDA. If these reports do not become part of a case file due to the escalation of the case, the records are to be retained for one year. 

Next Meeting

The first meeting of 2023 will be held on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, at the Alabama Department of Archives and History building. Interested individuals are encouraged to attend.

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