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Getting Started as a New Local Government RMO

Here are some specific steps you can take to start implementing a successful records management program in your local government:

  • Contact your Regional Advisory Officer (RAO)
    The State Archives’ Regional Advisory Officers work directly with local governments to address their records management needs. RAOs can:
    • review draft policies and procedures
    • identify potential records management improvements
    • advise on a variety of topics, including electronic records and disaster preparedness and response
    • discuss potential LGRMIF grant projects
    • provide in-person and online training
    • A list of RAOs by region is available.  
       
  • Meet with each department or office and identify
    • WHAT records they create and maintain
    • WHERE records are stored
    • HOW they use and manage records
    • For more information, see our inventory publication.
       
  • Identify and adopt appropriate retention schedule
    Records may be legally disposed by following State Archives’ approved LGS-1 retention schedule. Check out our Retention and Disposition Schedule page to access the LGS-1 schedule.
     
  • Identify existing records management policies and procedures
    Established policies and procedures ensure that your government’s records management program runs smoothly and efficiently, so it is important to identify any policies that may already exist.  If no policies and procedures are in place, plan to develop them. 
     
  • Attend our workshops and webinars
    Records management topics include records inventories, retention scheduling, files management, and more. You will learn the latest records management techniques from State Archives professionals, receive practical advice, and hear from other RMOs about what solutions have worked for them. Browse our workshop schedule and register.  Ask us about customized, onsite training too.
     
  • Check out our records management publications
    Topics include digital imaging, email, using a data storage vendor, and social media.  Browse the complete list of publications and contact your Regional Advisory Officer if you need additional information.  
     
  • Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter
    Region-specific newsletters offer information on topics relevant to records managers.  To subscribe, please contact your Regional Advisory Officer.
     
  • Apply for a Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund (LGRMIF) grant
    LGRMIF grants are available for local governments who are establishing records management programs or developing new program components. Potential projects include digitization or microfilming, creating and modifying inactive records rooms, and developing disaster plans. We offer resources to help you develop a successful grant application. For additional information and assistance please contact your Regional Advisory Officer.
     
  • Introduce yourself to IT and legal offices
    Coordination with these two units is important. IT can tell you how and where data is stored and backed up and include you in development of new systems to ensure retention requirements are met. Legal can assist in setting proper retention periods and involve you in discovery and legal actions, such as reclaiming alienated records.
     
  • Establish a Records Advisory Board
    A records advisory board can aide the RMO in providing direction to the program by identifying and prioritizing records management problems and formulating the best solutions to those problems. The board should consist of key individuals within your government including legal counsel, chief information officer (CIO), key department heads, a records clerk, and the local historian.  
     
  • Establish Records Liaison Team
    Have each office designate a records liaison. Liaisons help office staff with routine records management activities and assist you with conducting inventories for their office’s records. Regularly meet with your liaisons individually or as a team to discuss records management concerns within their offices and potential impacts of government-wide records management matters on their office colleagues.