NCGS 132-3(a) states that “No public official may destroy, sell, loan, or otherwise dispose of any public record…without the consent of the Department of Cultural Resources.” At first glance, it may look like you have to call or email us here at the Department of Cultural Resources (DCR) before you can throw away as much as a post-it note!
Fortunately, DCR publishes records retention and disposition schedules. In accordance with NCGS 121-5(c), your local government agency’s approval of the schedules grants you permission to dispose of public records if they have met their minimum retention period.
All of our current local government records schedules are on our website here. The Municipal Schedule (2012) should cover all records produced by a city, town, or village in North Carolina regardless of its size. The County Management Schedule (2013) covers most basic county functions. There are other county schedules for county offices that run by elected officials or have their own governing boards, such as the Register of Deeds (2012) or the County Health Department (2007).
If you are unsure of what schedule you should be using, contact a Records Management Analyst via phone or email and we will assist you.
In order for you to be able to use your schedule, it has to be approved by your governing board in an open meeting. Most counties and municipalities do this as part of the consent agenda. It is not necessary to pass a resolution to adopt the schedule, although some local governments choose to do that. The schedule then needs to be signed by the persons indicated on the signature page (2nd or 3rd page of the schedule).
Please send us a copy of the completed signature page for our records. If you are unsure if you have approved the most recent schedule, please check with a Records Analyst. We will be happy to see if we have a signature page for you on file.
Whether you are concerned with making some sense of your file room, promptly filling public records requests or wanting to get some outdated records out of your filing cabinets, the first step toward any of those goals is having an approved copy of the most up-to-date records retention and disposition schedule.