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Duties of a Local Government RMO

Welcome new local government records management officer (RMO)! If you are a town clerk, village clerk, or fire district secretary, your role as RMO is set forth in law.  RMOs for other local government entities are appointed by the appropriate chief administrative officer.

Here are your primary responsibilities:

Create or Maintain a Current Records Inventory

In order to manage your government’s records, you need to know what you have, where it is, how it’s used, and why it’s important. Conducting an inventory allows your government to locate, identify, and describe the records it maintains. Benefits to conducting and maintaining an inventory include:

  • identifying how long records need to be kept
  • ensuring that units are keeping records long enough to meet legal requirements
  • helping to determine storage needs

For more on this, see our publication Inventory and Planning: The First Steps in Records Management.

Coordinate Records Disposition

The bulk of your government’s records lose their value and can be scheduled for eventual destruction. Only approximately 2% of government records have enduring, historical value that warrant permanent preservation. You must make sure that your government adopts the State Archives-approved LGS-1 retention schedule and that staff regularly destroy or permanently retain records according to that schedule.

To learn more about implementing a local government retention schedule, visit our Retention and Disposition Schedule webpage.

Coordinate the Storage and Management of Inactive Records

Infrequently used, or inactive, records clutter valuable office space. Set up a secure, climate-controlled, inactive records storage area for your government (or continue to maintain one that has already been established). You may also decide to store records, particularly digital records, with a commercial vendor.

We have tools and resources to get you started - refer to our Inactive Records webpage. 

Review and Develop Plans and Programs to Improve Records Management

Are your colleagues having issues with retrieving records efficiently, overflowing filing cabinets, and implementing records disposition? Consider various solutions including imaging or microfilming records, transferring inactive records to an inactive records facility, creating a records index, refiling and rearranging your records, or implementing an automated retention solution in your electronic recordkeeping system.

Participate in the Development of Micrographics or Electronic Information Systems

Because of their specialized understanding of the program, RMOs should be part of any initiative related to choosing tools or solutions for managing records. You can contribute your knowledge of how the records are used and organized, how long the records must be kept, and which technology is most appropriate for the business needs identified.

For more information, consult our Digital Imaging Guidelines.   

Ensure Preservation of and Access to Historical Records

The LGS-1 retention schedule has designated records of enduring value as “permanent.” Other records which may have historical or research significance in some local governments but not in others have an appraisal note. RMOs should coordinate review and evaluation of records with potential historical significance to determine whether they should be retained permanently.

Information on appraising records, preserving historical records, and providing access to researchers and other interested individuals is available in the publication Appraisal of Local Government Records for Historical Value and on the Historical Records webpage.

The responsibilities of the RMO are outlined in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (8NYCRR 185.2(c)).