Records Retention: Out With the Old, In With the New

With the New Year often brings thoughts of making plans for the upcoming year, perhaps making some changes, or dare I say, resolutions. One of those resolutions may be keeping your office and/or the departmental, city, or county file room in better order and cleaner. Your Local Government Records Retention and Disposition Schedules are one of your best tools for imposing some order on the records in your office.

These schedules determine the minimum amount of time you need to keep records in your office. If the schedule says “Destroy in office after 3 years,” now is the perfect time to get rid of those 2009 records. Of course, that’s if they’re not involved in any pending audits, litigation, or if you need them so you can do continue to do your job. You can destroy your records on a calendar year, fiscal year, quarterly or whatever time period works for you. Just be sure you retain the records for the minimum period of time delineated in the Retention Schedule. See also:  Do’s and Don’t’s: Records Destruction.

The Local Government Records Retention and Disposition Schedules are all available on our website here. The Municipal Records Retention and Disposition Schedule works for all municipalities in North Carolina. The County Management Schedule covers many basic county functions such as Planning and Zoning, Parks and Recreation, and Building Inspections. Some County Departments, such as Health, Social Services, Sheriff, and Registers of Deeds have their own schedules. If you’re unsure of which schedule you should be using, contact a Local Records Management Analyst. The schedules need to be approved by the governing board in an open meeting. If you’re unsure whether or not your schedule has been approved, contact an Analyst at the above link.

The most recently updated schedules are: Municipal (2012), County Boards of Elections (2012), County Registers of Deeds (2012) and Local Management Entities (2011). We are currently updating the County Management Schedule and the County Tax Department Schedule with other updates in the pipeline. New schedules we are working on are County Soil and Water Offices and an Airport Schedule. We may be contacting some of you in the future for your input on these, let us know if you want to help!