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Suggestions for Records Disposition

Once this Schedule has been formally adopted valueless records may be disposed of continually as they meet their stated minimum retention periods. The advantages of a program for systematic, legal disposal of obsolete records are that it

  1. ensures that records are retained as long as they are actually needed for administrative, fiscal, legal, or research purposes;
  2. ensures that records are promptly disposed of after they are no longer needed;
  3. frees storage space and equipment for important records and for new records as they are created;
  4. eliminates time and effort required to service and sort through superfluous records to find needed information;
  5. eliminates the potential fire hazard from storage of large quantities of valueless records; and
  6. facilitates the identification and preservation of archival records.

Suggestions for systematically approaching the disposition process include the following:

  1. Section 57.19 of the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law requires each local government to designate a Records Management Officer to coordinate or directly carry out disposition. The duties of a Records Management Officer are found in Section 185.2 of 8NYCRR. Contact the State Archives for additional information.
  2. Disposition should be carried out regularly, at least once a year. It should not be deferred until records become a pressing storage problem. Duplicate copies of records, including copies maintained on different media (paper, electronic, etc.), may be disposed of in accordance with item no. 58 of the General Administration section of this Schedule.
  3. State law does not prescribe the physical means of destruction of most records. Records may be destroyed in any way the Records Management Officer or other local official chooses. Disposition through consignment to a paper recycling plant is often the best choice as it helps conserve natural resources and may also yield revenue for the local government. For records containing confidential information, disposition should be carried out in a way that ensures that the confidentiality of individuals named in the records is protected.
  4. A record should be kept of the identity, inclusive dates, and approximate quantity of records that are disposed. Sample disposition forms are available from the State Archives.
  5. The Records Management Officer, or other official who carries out disposition, should describe what has been done to dispose of records during the year in an annual report to the governing body.