Municipal and county clerks frequently ask about the retention of agendas and meeting packets that they prepare for meetings of their governing boards. Are agendas and meeting packets to be retained permanently, as are the minutes of those meetings?
The answer is “No, but …” There is a great deal of flexibility in how long a local government must retain agendas and meeting packets. Here is the Item in the County Management Records Retention and Disposition Schedule:
And in the Municipal Records Retention and Disposition Schedule:
According to disposition instruction (b) shown above, a local government may dispose of agendas and meeting packets, which contain exhibits, attachments, handouts, speakers lists, presentations, and other supporting documentation, when their administrative value ends, so long as the local government defines that time period by filling in the blank line following “Destroy in office after …” For example, a local government could fill in the blank line with “Destroy in office after adjournment of the meeting” or “Destroy in office after 1 year.” Since the retention period is always the minimum amount of time that records must be retained before destruction, a local government may retain agendas and meeting packets for longer, when necessary.
Alternatively, with disposition instruction (a) shown above, a local government can designate specific agendas and meeting packets as having historical value. Records with historical value document significant events, actions, decisions, conditions, relationships, and similar developments in the history of a local government. If you need assistance with the determination of historical value, please contact a Records Management Analyst.
These agendas and meeting packets are to be retained permanently in the local government’s office. A local government must take special measures for agendas and meeting packets that are kept forever. Even when the agendas and meeting packets are born-digital, as permanent records they must be retained in paper or microfilm formats. We also recommend the creation of a human-readable preservation duplicate — either paper or microfilm — that is stored off-site. With this measure, a local government can recreate the historical records were a disaster to destroy the originals.
Local governments may be anxious about the destruction of agendas and meeting packets, which support the important business of their governing boards and sometimes are interfiled with meeting minutes. Minutes, of course, are permanent records and perhaps the most important historical records for local governments. By following our records schedules, which are found here, local governments can dispose of their agendas and meeting packets with confidence.