News:

October 30, 2013

NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities Wins State Archives Award

Albany, NY -- The New York State Archives and the Archives Partnership Trust have selected the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to receive the 2013 Annual Archives Award for Excellence in State Agency Records Management Program Development.  This award is presented annually to recognize a state agency’s major accomplishments relating to records management program development.

The award was presented to Records Management Officer Susan Becker, Director of the Bureau of Cost Donna Cater, Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Enterprise Solutions Kevin Valenchis, and Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Workforce and Talent Management Mark Pattison at a luncheon ceremony at the Cultural Education Center in Albany, held recently.

The New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities has developed a comprehensive records management program under the leadership of its Records Management Officer, Susan Becker, and a model plan for documenting the historical records of OPWDD facilities slated for closure with impetus from Deputy Commissioner Mark Pattison.

Records held by OPWDD across New York State have been affected by devastating storms over the last three years: in 2011, Tropical Storms Irene and Lee damaged records in the Schoharie office; in 2012, Superstorm Sandy hit a facility in Brooklyn and another on Staten Island; and this year’s summer thunderstorms damaged a large quantity of its Oneida facility’s records. For each of these disasters, Sue Becker kept in regular contact with Archives staff, ensured that damaged records were salvaged, and prepared early destruction records requests where appropriate. Because of her actions, she safeguarded potential historical and vital records of her agency and now serves as a model to other agencies. Sue has also ensured that inactive records transferred to the State Records Center have been in good order with proper transfer documentation.

Faced with the imminent closure of some of its facilities, OPWDD reached out to the State Archives to develop a strategy to ensure appropriate disposition of records and the transfer of historical records to the State Archives. As former Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Enterprise Solutions, Mark Pattison spearheaded this effort. Working at the Taconic Developmental Center, the Archives and center staff have been inventorying records, identifying those with historical value, and preparing archival records for eventual transfer to the Archives. OPWDD and the Archives will take the lessons learned during this project to apply to other facilities set for closure.  

“We are pleased to recognize the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities for their outstanding efforts to manage and ultimately preserve the records of state government,” said State Archivist Christine Ward.  “This agency was selected from among all state agencies as having the finest program in the state in 2013.  But the real winner is not this agency; rather it is the people of the State of New York.  We commend all involved in this winning program and wish them continued success in the years ahead.”

Previous award winners include NYS Office of General Services (2012), NYS Department of Taxation and Finance (2011), State University of New York (2010), NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (2009), NYS Consumer Protection Board (2008), NYS Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation (2007), NYS Emergency Management Office (2006), NYS Department of Civil Service (2005), and NYS Insurance Department (2004).

The annual Archives Awards program recognizes outstanding efforts in archives and records management work in New York State by a broad range of individuals and organizations.  A complete list of this year’s award recipients follows:

Cheryl Steinbach Annual Archives Award for Excellence in Local Government Records Management
Orange-Ulster BOCES (Orange County)

William H. Kelly Annual Archives Award for Excellence in Local Government Archival Program Development
Montgomery County

Excellence in State Agency Records Management Program Development
New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities

Bruce W. Dearstyne Annual Archives Award for Excellence in the Educational Use of Historical Records
Dr. Kristi Fragnoli, Assistant Professor of Education, The College of St. Rose (Albany County)

Excellence in the Educational Use of Local Government Records by a Local Government
Holland Patent Teaching and Learning Center and the Holland Patent Central School District (Oneida County)

Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of the State Archives
Dr. Carolyn Strange, Australian National University

Laura and Robert Chodos Award for Excellence in Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 9-12
Ana Luiza Teodoro and Steven Faiella; Tottenville High School, New York City Department of Education; Teacher: Joanne Nolemi (Richmond County)

Laura and Robert Chodos Award for Excellence in Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 6-8
Conor Quinn; Farnsworth Middle School, Guilderland Central Schools; Teacher: Deborah Escobar (Albany County)

Laura and Robert Chodos Award for Excellence in Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 4-5
Jillian Landsman, Jaeden Tice, Thomas Grismer, Ethan Metzger, Hannah Eavans, Jana Elkashef, Maeve Harkin, Nicole Hammond, Randy Rosario; Walden Elementary School, Valley Central School District; Teacher: Nancy Phelps (Orange County)

For More Information, Contact:
Emily Allen (518) 473-0130 or
Antonia Valentine (518) 474-1201