1. What is Records Management?
Records management is the control and treatment of the creation, distribution, utilization, retention, storage, retrieval, preservation, and disposition of records. Public records exist within all municipal systems and processes and must be balanced with privacy versus the right to know.
Montana law defines a public record as “any paper, correspondence, form, book, photograph, microfilm, magnetic tape, computer storage media, map, drawing, or other document, including copies of the record required by law to be kept as part of the official record, regardless of physical form or characteristics”, that “has been made or received by any local government to document the transaction of official business; is a public writing of the local government pursuant to 2-6-101; and is designated for retention by the local government records committee established in 2-6-402; and all other records or documents required by law to be filed with or kept by any local government in the state of Montana, except military discharge certificates filed under 7-4-2614. The term includes electronic mail sent or received in connection with the transaction of official duties. The term does not include any paper, correspondence, form, book, photograph, microfilm, magnetic tape, computer storage media, map, drawing, or other type of document that is for reference purposes only, a preliminary draft, a telephone messaging slip, a routing slip, part of a stock of publications or of preprinted forms, or a superseded publication.” (as per 2-6-401, MCA). General Records Retention Schedule 9 provides a detailed list of documents that are not considered public records.
2. Why do we do it?
Every governmental agency is required by law to manage its public records in an orderly and systematic way. When this is done, records become a tremendous asset, the evidence of past events and the basis for future actions. Proper records management facilitates effective collaboration and more efficient processes by minimizing redundancy and storage needs across the organization. Immediate access to critical information during an emergency is also a major consideration.
3. How do we do it?
The City of Bozeman follows the best practices as defined by the Montana Secretary of State. This process involves the following four steps:
Scheduling Records Retention
We are currently in the process of completing all four steps within the Clerk’s office and plan to implement a variety of technologies to help maximize our efforts (with hopes for developing a successful model for all City departments in the future). So far, we have developed and executed a records inventory work plan and a Laserfiche migration plan to make this valuable resource more effective and user-friendly. Please contact us with any comments, questions or suggestions.
4. Reference Materials for the Public
Secretary of State’s office of Records and Information Management
Introduction to Montana Local Government Records Schedules
Basic Steps of Records Management
Disposing of Public Records
Glossary of Records Management Terms
Electronic Storage Rules [Administrative Rule 44.14.202]
Montana E-Mail Guidelines
Montana Electronic Records Initiative Strategic Plan (2008-2016)
5. Reference Material for City Employees
City of Bozeman Records Retention Schedule [Commission Resolution No. 3899]
Retention Schedules for Correspondence [as per Schedule 1]
Retention Schedules for “Subject” vs. “Working” Files [as per Schedule 1]
Records Inventory Work Plan
Laserfiche Migration Plan
Information Technology Use Policy [Administrative Order 2010-02]
Section 1.3 – “All correspondences are the property of the City and will be stored according to the City’s records retention policy.”
Section 3.3 – “As the City of Bozeman emails are used primarily for official communication, employees and officials must recognize emails are generally considered public records and subject to the Montana Open Records Act.”
Section 7.1 – “In addition, backup copies of email messages and other messaging data may exist, despite end-user deletion, in compliance with the City’s records retention policy.”
Social Media Use Policy [Administrative Order 2012-01]
6. Additional Links
Montana Secretary of State - Records and Information Management Division
Association of Records Managers & Administrators (ARMA)
Big Sky Chapter of the ARMA
Association for Image & Information Management (AIIM)
ICMA - Imaging & Records Management Topic
Council of State Archivists (CoSA) - IPER Project
National Archives & Records Administration