This is a new series of posts where I will take a question that is, well, frequently asked and answer it with a blog entry. Besides “Is this Mark?” and “How long does the review process last?”, “What is the schedule review process?” is probably the most recurring question I receive as a state agency records analyst.
Before I begin, I should emphasize that this is the process for state agencies only; local agencies’ schedules are handled in a different manner.
In a nutshell, once a state agency has approved my draft for their schedule’s update or amendment I will save it to a particular folder on my computer where all of my drafts and pending drafts are stored. Usually I title it with a particular number and the agency and division it is referencing, not only to make things easier for myself but also to make it easier for the reviewers to find it.
After this, I submit it to “first-level” review with the head of our State Agency Services, Laura Hensey, who is in charge of all of our agency holdings in the State Records Center. Laura has the unenviable task of cross checking the items on the draft with our holdings in the records center to estimate how much and how often certain series are brought in to the records center, as well as assisting in determining their archival value, if any. She then uses this information to suggest adjustments or edits to retention schedules. Once I have consulted with the agency concerning these changes, Laura will give a final approval and give her blessing for the draft to be entered into “second-level” review.
The second stop in our schedule draft’s journey to approval is the very capable hands of our Electronic Records Branch head Kelly Eubank. Kelly’s level of involvement varies based on the amount of electronic records series in the draft. Typically, she will inquire as to whether or not a 99S or a self-warranty form (essential for long-term electronic records retention) have been filled out by the agency and submitted to us. She also functions in much the same capacity as Laura, only concerning the holding of electronic records and their potential archival value. Once all electronic issues are resolved, the draft is submitted into “third level” review.
Ron Leach, the State & University Records Unit head, is the third-level reviewer for schedule drafts. Using his background in law, Ron will look for instances where statutes and other legal language may need to be included in item dispositions. Ron also inspects the draft for adherence to standard schedule language consistent with other completed schedules as well as grammatical errors.
Once Ron completes his review, the schedule draft is submitted to Becky McGee-Lankford, head of Government Records, for final approval in the “fourth level” of review. Becky’s review is typically brief and is intended to be the last line of defense, so to speak, for errors of any type that may have slipped through the cracks of the first three levels of review. Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for finally arrives; the schedule draft is approved for signature. Look for my blog post later this month concerning that process, as well as what we do with your schedule once it has been approved and signed.
Below is a link to all of the state agencies and their respective analysts’ contact information: