DEPARTMENT OF RECORDS, ARCHIVES, AND INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SERVICES

Policies


     Department History.

     Ontario County was one of the first counties in New York State
to implement a comprehensive Records Management Program.  Initially
under the direction of County Clerk Renato "Ray" Vecchi, the
program was formally established on November 14, 1985 by Resolution
No. 606-85.  This resolution outlined the responsibilities and the
powers necessary for the administration of the program, and adopted
all applicable New York State Records Retention and Disposition
Schedules.

     On August 5, 1988, the New York State Local Government Records
Law (Chapter 737, Section 57.19, Laws of 1987) required all local
governments to appoint a Records Management Officer (RMO). 
Resolution No. 599-88 designated Steven A. Walker to serve as
Ontario County Records Management Officer.  The duties and
responsibilities of the Records Management Officer were
subsequently defined by the New York State Arts and Cultural
Affairs Law (Section 57.23 and 57.25), the Education Law (Section
207), and the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (Title
VIII, Section 185.2, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York
1989).  On February 8, 1990, the Board of Supervisors unanimously
passed Local Law No. 3 which superseded Resolution 606-85 and
created the Department of Records, Archives, and Information
Management Services (RAIMS), the Records Advisory Board, and County
position of Records Management Officer.

     What are records and why are they important?

     Section 57.07 of the State's Consolidated Arts and Cultural
Affairs Law defines "local government records" as:

     any book, paper, map, photograph, microphotograph or other
     information storage device regardless of physical form or
     characteristic which is the property of the state or of any 
     state agency, department, division, board, bureau,
     commission, county, city, town, village, district or any
     subdivision thereof by whatever name designated in or on
     which any entry has been made or is required to be made by
     law, or which any officer or employee of any said bodies has
     received or is required to receive for filing.

Under this definition, local government records include any type of
recorded information that local government officials create or
receive in the course of their official duties.  "Records" include
audio and/or visual information in magnetic tape form, "machine-
readable" information recorded in electronic form, and information
on microfilm, as well as in the familiar format of 
paper.
                             

     The State Archives and Records Administration has written that
"records are essential to the administration of local government. 
They contain the information that keeps government programs
functioning.  They give government officials a basis for making
decisions, administering programs, and providing administrative
continuity with past operations.  They document the delivery of
services.  They show the legal responsibilities of the government
and they protect the legal rights of citizens.  They contain
information on taxation and on the management and expenditure of
public funds.  They increase the accountability of the government
and its officers.  Records also document the historical development
of the government itself, of the community, and of its people. 
Local government records are, therefore, an essential information
resource and an important cultural asset."

     What are the functions of the State Archives regarding Local
Government Records?

     The State Archives and Records Administration (SARA) has
myriad functions pertaining to the preservation and management of
local government records.  SARA publishes the Records Retention and
Disposition Schedules for local government records plus administers
a regional technical assistance system that encourages the planning
and development of comprehensive records management programs.  In
addition, the Local Government Records Bureau of SARA: develops
materials that demonstrate the advantages and benefits of sound
records management and archival programs; offers workshops for
local officials interested in the efficient management of their
records; encourages local governments to utilize technological
advances in information storage and retrieval, particularly
micrographic and automated data processing systems; administers a
local government records management improvement fund; and provides
extensive advice and assistance on the identification, management,
and use of archival records.

     The State Archives and Records Administration's functions are
mandated by State law.  The Consolidated Arts and Cultural Affairs
Law (Section 57.05, subsection 10) states in part "... it 
     shall be the function of the state archives to examine into
     the condition of the records, books, pamphlets, documents,
     manuscripts, archives, maps, papers, photographs,
     microphotographs or other information storage devises
     regardless of physical form or characteristics kept, filed
     or recorded in the public offices of counties ... and to
     advise and recommend to officials in those public offices
     having custody or control over the records and information
     storage devices herein before described as to making,
     managing, reproducing, preserving or disposing of those
     records and devices in their custody or control.  The
     recommendations of the state archives may be enforced by an
     order issued by a justice of the supreme court upon
     application of the commissioner of education, either with or
     without notice to the proper public officer, as such justice
     may require...."

It is to the benefit of the local government and the public that
records be managed efficiently, cost effectively, and
appropriately.

     What are archival records?

     The State Retention and Disposition Schedule for use by
counties states that "records of enduring value (archival records)
are those that are worthy of permanent retention and special
management because of the importance of the information they
contain for continuing administrative, legal, or fiscal purposes or
for historical or other research.  This Schedule
[CO-2] assigns a permanent retention period to those records that
have been determined to have such value in county offices
throughout the State.  However, because of the diversity of local
government and differing documentation needs, it is impossible to
identify every record in every county that has sufficient value to
warrant its permanent retention.  Therefore, in some cases, records
have been assigned a less than permanent retention, but a note has
been added indicating that the records may have continuing value
for historical or other research." 

     What are vital records?

     According to the State Archives and Records Administration,
"vital records are those that are essential to the continuing
operation of the government.  They contain information that would
be needed to resume and continue the operations of the government
after a major disaster such as a fire or flood, to protect the 
legal and financial interests of the government, and to preserve
the rights of the people.  (The term should not be confused with
"vital statistics" - records of births and deaths.)  Vital records
may include such materials as:
Minutes Fiscal accounts and accounting records Tax rolls Franchises Maps and surveys Highway and street designations, determinations, and descriptions Deeds Vital statistics and marriage records Records relating to outstanding indebtedness Payrolls and other employee records Insurance policies Policies and procedures
     It should be noted that some, but not all, "vital records" are
also "archival records."  For instance, minutes, deeds, and
original maps are archival and must be retained permanently. 
Fiscal accounts, employee files, and insurance policies, however,
are not archival records.  They are vital records because they are
essential for operation of the government, but they lack sufficient
administrative, legal, fiscal, or other values to warrant their
permanent retention.

     Vital records, because of their central importance to the
functioning of the government, warrant special protection.  Section
57.09 of the Consolidated Arts and Cultural Affairs Law mandates
protection of such materials in a fireproof environment.  This can
include Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified safes or insulated
record containers, or fire-resistive vaults.  Another means of
protecting the information in vital records is what is sometimes
called "duplication and dispersal."  This involves making a
microfilm or other copy, and placing the copy at a safe location
away from the originals.  This approach makes it highly unlikely
that both copies could be destroyed by a single disaster.  Of
course, it is advisable to take precautions to minimize the risk of
loss of the originals by fire, water, or other damage and to
develop a plan for salvaging records that may
be damaged." 

     What is Records Management?

     The State Archives and Records Administration in its handbook,
Managing Local Government Records:  A Manual for Local Government
Officials in New York State, relates that "records management is
based on the premise that records require managing, in the same
sense that other local government resources need managing.  It
should be regarded as fully as important as other administrative
functions, since records are at the heart of governmental
operations.  Records management is not just a one- time reaction to
accumulated records problems, or the cleaning up page 5

of a backlog of old records that have become a storage problem. 
Instead, it is an administrative service that should be continued
systematically over time.... Records management programs have the
following objectives:

     A.   To facilitate the creation of usable records containing
           accurate and complete information.

     B.   To save the taxpayers money through efficient
           administration of information resources.

     C.   To prevent the creation of unnecessary records.

     D.   To make records readily available when needed, thereby
           minimizing time spent seeking out information.

     E.   To ensure the systematic legal disposition of records
           that have outlived their usefulness.

     F.   To identify, preserve, and encourage use of archival
           records."

     Custody of Records.

     In accordance with Local Law No. 3 and New York State Law,
each county department retains legal custody of the records which
it creates or maintains, including those records which it stores at
the Records Center.  Records transferred to or acquired by the
Archives are under the custody and control of the Department of
RAIMS rather than the department which created or held them
immediately prior to being transferred to the archives.

     Records identified as permanent in the State Records Retention
and Disposition Schedules will be transferred to the Archives upon
the recommendation of the Records Management Officer, with the
approval of the head of the department which has custody of the
records, and the Records Advisory Board.  Records may also 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.   

     Access to Records.

     Records stored in the Records Center can be accessed only by
the department which has created and/or maintained these records
(i.e., the legal custodian), unless permission has been obtained in
writing from that department.  The Records Center will not 
accept subpoenas on behalf of other agencies.  These must be served
on the appropriate person in the records-generating agency, who may
obtain the required records from the Records Center upon request. 
It is also the responsibility of the generating agency to respond
to Freedom of Information requests through procedures which have
been established by the Board of Supervisors.

     If records have no restrictions to their access and are
frequently used by county employees and the public (i.e., deeds,
etc.), a blanket access form, available from the Records Center,
should be prepared at the time the records are transferred.  These
records will then be deemed open to the public and to other county
departments without the need for subsequent written permission.
 
     Disposition of Records.

     The New York State Records Retention and Disposition
Schedules, which were adopted for county departments through
Resolution No. 606-85, outlined minimum retention periods and
procedures for disposition of most county records.  As of May 30,
1990, the New York State Commissioner of Education withdrew his
consent for any county agency to dispose of records listed in  the
State Archives and Records Administration Records Retention and
Disposition Schedule CO-1.  The Commissioner has issued State
Archives and Records Administration Records Retention and
Disposition Schedule CO-2.  As of May 31, 1990 the CO-2 schedule is
the only legal schedule for use in determining minimum retention
periods for county records other than court records.  In July of
1989, the Unified Court System issued records retention and
disposition schedules for the civil records and criminal records of
the Supreme and County Courts.  By law, no disposition of records
is allowed unless the schedules are adopted, their retention
periods are observed, and the procedures outlined are followed.

     In accordance with Local Law No. 3, no disposition of records
can take place without the approval of both the department which
has legal custody of these records and the County Records
Management Officer.  The RMO acts as liaison with the Unified Court
System and the State Education Department for purposes of
disposition.

     Most county records are shredded and recycled.  Only those
records which cannot be recycled will be disposed by burial at the
county landfill.  Burial of the records is witnessed by a 
staff member of the department of Records, Archives, and
Information Management Services. 



     Transfer of Records.

     A completed Records Transfer List must accompany ALL records
to be transferred to the department of RAIMS for storage.  Please
contact RAIMS at extension 4376 to obtain Records Transfer List
forms.  The Records Transfer List is a two-part form which must
accompany each box of records transferred.  For legibility purposes
we request that the forms be typed.  A sample Records Transfer List
is found in appendix A.  Once the form is made out, place it inside
the box of material to be transferred.  The Records Transfer List
will be completed by RAIMS and the yellow copy will be returned to
you for your files.  Please keep these yellow copies and refer to
them when requesting your boxes.  You will be asked the Bin No. for
easy retrieval of your records.

     A department will box its own records into one cubic foot
letter/legal storage boxes prior to transfer.  Approximately two of
these boxes will be needed for each legal-size file drawer, and
approximately one and one half boxes will be needed for each
letter-size file drawer.  The storage boxes will be provided by
RAIMS free of charge upon request.

     To simplify future retrieval and disposition activities, the
following packing guidelines should be followed:

          1.   Pack only one type of record (or one "record 
               series") in each box.
          2.   Pack records upright in the boxes provided.  
               Letter size records can be stored in one     
               direction, legal size materials in the other.
          3.   Keep records in the order in which they normally 
               are filed in your office.  Do not attempt to 
               revise the alphabetical, numerical, chronological, 
               or other order of your records.
          4.   Fill each box to capacity, but do not overfill.

     If records to be stored will not fit into the boxes provided,
please contact RAIMS and special arrangements can be made.

     Retrieval of Records.

     Each generative agency may request its records by telephone or
in person.  Telephone requests will be filled upon receipt. 
Records can be picked up by the generative agency, or can be sent
directly to the agency through interdepartmental mail.  Copies of
records may also be obtained within seconds via facsimile
transmission.  For those who wish to research on site, a study area
is provided.  On-site services also include photocopying and use of
a 16mm and 35mm (roll) microfilm reader-printer and a microfiche
reader-printer.


     Micrographic Services.

     Agencies which desire micrographic services should submit a
standard Request for Micrographic Service, a sample of which
follows in appendix A, after consultation with the appropriate
staff of RAIMS.  Departments should describe in detail the records
to be filmed, as well as the file format and number of pages to be
filmed.

     Records should be prepared for filming by the requesting
department.  Labor and equipment for filming will be provided free
of charge by the micrographic section of the department of Records,
Archives, and Information Management Services.  Quality checks on
completed film are performed at RAIMS.  

     Facsimile Services. 

     RAIMS will continue to provide facsimile services to all
departments which request record information to be transmitted or
received.  The Records Management Officer will review all proposals
for the purchase of any transmittal/storage device to insure
county-wide compatibility and coverage under maintenance contracts. 

     Computer Back-up Services.

     RAIMS provides off-site electronic data storage for all
departments.  Weekly back-up tapes or disks are stored in a 
secure, climate controlled area in the archives.  A weekly back-up
of your computer files stored at the archives is strongly
recommended.  Call RAIMS for further information.

     Services to the Public. 

     The reference room at the department of Records, Archives, and
Information Management Services (RAIMS) will be open to the public
Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.  Reference services
at the facility are provided to the public during that time at no
charge.  As per Resolution No. 762-89 the following fees for
services outside the scopes of the Freedom of Information Act are
established:

Search fee for letter
and telephone requests   $25.00 per hour/$ 12.50 minimum

Photocopy fee            $  .50 each side of page/$1.00 minimum

Facsimile transmission
fee                      $ 1.50 intrastate>  
                         $ 3.00 interstate>  
                         $ 7.00 outside the U.S.A.> 

           INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING THE RECORDS TRANSFER LIST

Please read carefully and follow all the directions.  If you have
any questions contact the Department of Records, Archives, and
Information Management Services.
 
=================================================================

 1.  Dept.          Please fill in the name of your department.

 2.  Location       Original location of records. (Building, Room 
                    No.)

 3.  Cabinet,
     Drawer No.     Please note original cabinet and drawer 
                    number, if known.

 4.  Filing Equipment Released     If you will continue to use 
                    the filing equipment in which the records to 
                    be transferred were stored, please check (X) 
                    "For Reuse."  If you no longer need the 
                    filing cabinet, please check (X) "Recycle."  
                    Then fill in the number of cabinets or other 
                    equipment in which the records are stored.  
                    If less than one cabinet is being used, 
                    please note the number of drawers released.

 5.  Storage Space Released        Please note the number of 
                    cubic feet of space released by the transfer 
                    of records.  (This number will always be one 
                    cubic foot with Archival or Records Center 
                    storage boxes.)

 6.  Box No.        Leave blank.  This number will be provided by 
                    the RACS computerized cataloging system.

 7.  Records Title  Fill in the Records Series title of the 
                    records to be transferred.  Please make the 
                    title as specific as possible.  For example, 
                    the Inventory might note only that the  
               Records Series is "Civil Actions."  On the   
               Transfer List, however, you might want to    
               note that you are transferring Civil Actions 
                    Nos. 44389 - 44687.  This will facilitate 
                    retrieval.

 8.  Years Covered  Please note the earliest and latest date of 
                    records to be transferred.






           INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING THE RECORDS TRANSFER LIST

Please read carefully and follow all the directions.  If you have
any questions contact the Department of Records, Archives, and
Information Management Services.
 
=================================================================

 9.       Access Code    After consultation with the appropriate 
                    records retention and disposition schedule or 
                    the RMO enter "A" for a record series that is 
                    to be kept permanently and "R" for records 
                    that have other than permanent retention 
                         periods.

10.       RRDS and Item No.   If you are using the State Records
                    Retention and Disposition Schedule CO-2, type
                    "CO-2" and the special 3-digit RACS item
                    number.  If you are using the Unified Court
                    System Schedules, type "UCS" and the 5-digit
                    item number.  Civil Court records will have a
                    5-digit item number beginning with a 2, and
                    Criminal Court records will have a 5-digit
                    number beginning with a 3.  If you do not
                    know the Unified Court System or the CO-2
                    item number please consult your supervisor or
                    the RMO.

11.- 13.  Destruct Date; Date Destroyed; Bin No.  Leave these 
                    spaces blank.  They will be filled in by the 
                    staff at RAIMS.

14.       Dept. Signature; Title; Date  You must sign your name,
                    type in your title and the date of transfer
                    in this space.  This document can be regarded
                    as a contract between your department and
                    RAIMS.  Leave the rest blank.
          






                     REQUEST FOR MICROGRAPHIC SERVICE
                     ================================



Agency:   _______________________________________________________


Address:  _______________________________________________________

          _______________________________________________________

          _______________________________________________________



Officer:  _______________________________________________________




Records to
be filmed:     __________________________________________________

               __________________________________________________

               __________________________________________________

               __________________________________________________

               __________________________________________________

               __________________________________________________



Film format:   __________________________________________________


Number of pages
to be filmed:  __________________________________________________

               __________________________________________________

               __________________________________________________












                            APPENDIX A:  FORMS












                     APPENDIX B:  LOCAL LAW NO. 3-1990













                       APPENDIX C:  RECORDS CONTROLS













                 APPENDIX D:  A GUIDE TO EFFICIENT FILING












                       APPENDIX E:  ARCHIVAL RECORDS







                             TABLE OF CONTENTS

Questions?                                        Answers on Page

What is RAIMS?................................................. 1
What are records?.............................................. 1
What are State Archives functions?............................. 2
What are archival records?..................................... 3
What are vital records?........................................ 3
What is records management?.................................... 4
Who has custody of records?.................................... 5
Who has access to records?..................................... 5
What is records disposition?................................... 6
How do I transfer records?..................................... 7
How do I retrieve records?..................................... 7
What are micrographic services?................................ 8
What are facsimile services?................................... 8
What are computer back-up services?............................ 8
How does RAIMS serve the public?............................... 8

Appendix A: Forms............................................ A-1 
     Sample Transfer List.................................... A-2
     Transfer List Instructions.............................. A-3
     Request for Micrographic Service........................ A-5

Appendix B:  Local Law No. 3................................. B-1
     Legislative Intent...................................... B-2
     Creation of Department.................................. B-2
     Department, Officer..................................... B-3
     Powers and Duties....................................... B-3
     Records Advisory Board.................................. B-5
     Custody................................................. B-5
     Replevin................................................ B-6
     Disposal of Records..................................... B-6
     Definitions............................................. B-6

Appendix C:  Records Controls................................ C-1
     Forms management........................................ C-2
     Filing systems.......................................... C-3
     Indexing minutes........................................ C-5
     Automated data processing............................... C-6
     Vital records........................................... C-8
     Freedom of Information.................................. C-9

Appendix D:  A Guide to Efficient Filing..................... D-1

Appendix E:  Archival Records................................ E-1

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