How to Adopt the New Local Government Retention Schedules

This post is a follow-up to our January announcement of a new approach to local records schedules in North Carolina.

The March 2019 updates to North Carolina Local Government Records Retention Schedules have been signed by the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.  While we’re preparing them for publication and adoption, here’s what you need to know:

General Records

The universal update covering General Records is taking the form of a General Local Records Retention Schedule.  When adopted, it supersedes the following standards on all local schedules published prior to March 1, 2019:

  • Administration and Management Records
  • Budget, Fiscal, and Payroll Records
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) Records
  • Information Technology Records
  • Legal Records
  • Personnel Records
  • Public Relations Records
  • Risk Management Records
  • Workforce Development Records


To adopt this schedule, the governing board should take action in a regular open meeting–typically as part of the consent agenda or by resolution.  The signature page to the schedule should then be signed by the Clerk, Manager, or other Executive Officer; and by the head of the governing body.  A sample of the new signature page is below so that agencies can begin to familiarize themselves with the language.  It is not the official version and should not be signed.


Example Signature Page of the 2019 General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule for Local Government Agencies

Once the official signature page has been signed, please send a copy of it to a records management analyst via email, fax, or U.S. mail, and keep the original with the full 2019 General Schedule for your own records.

Who Needs to Adopt This Schedule?

The State Archives would like as many agencies using this new schedule as possible.  However, since it covers general records that are frequently managed by central offices, some county agencies may be able to use it without signing it directly.  For example, if the County manages financial, IT, and human resources records for its Register of Deeds, the Register of Deeds may not need to sign this schedule, even though the office would normally sign the schedule for the Register of Deeds’ Program Records, once the County Manager has signed it.

On the other hand, some agencies that cover the same county may have a different authority structure and prefer to sign the General Schedule separately, even if some of their administrative support functions are managed by the County, or may manage some of the records on the General Schedule themselves.  Agencies that may fall under this category include Boards of Elections and Departments of Social Services.

Whether individual county agencies need to adopt this schedule or not is an internal decision.  We recommend agencies discuss the matter with legal counsel and the County Manager’s office.

Agencies that are completely independent of the county structure, such as municipalities and regional councils of government, should adopt the 2019 General Schedule in all circumstances.

Program Records

In addition to the 2019 General Schedule, we will be publishing separate retention schedules for the program records of Local Health Departments and of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.  These agencies will need to adopt and sign these schedules as well as the 2019 General Schedule.  The program schedules and the general schedule are designed to be used together, but have separate signature pages so that the general schedule can be adopted by everyone.

Once again, please send a copy of your signed signature pages to a records management analyst via email, fax, or U.S. mail.

What’s Next

Watch this space for an announcement once the retention schedules are ready for signature.  In January 2020, we intend to repeat this process with a 2020 General Schedule for Local Government Records, as well as the Program Schedules for Agricultural Extensions, County Management, Local Education Agencies, Municipalities, Regional Councils of Government, and Tourism Development Authorities.  Subsequent Program Schedules will continue to update on a 5-year rolling cycle.

With that said, this entire process is still a work in progress.  We appreciate any feedback or recommendations you have to improve the new system we are putting in place.

Questions?  Feedback?

For additional information on this project, please see our initial announcement post.  You can also contact Emily Sweitzer at

2 thoughts on “How to Adopt the New Local Government Retention Schedules

  1. Pingback: 2019 General Schedule for Local Records Available | The G.S. 132 Files

  2. Pingback: 2019 Update to Records Schedule for Local Health Departments | The G.S. 132 Files

Comments are closed.