Records retention management for governmental entities
RECORDS RETENTION &
Issues and Concerns in the Technological World
Texas State Library & Archives Commission
• The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has a long history, dating back to the
Republic of Texas. In 1835, a settler first proposed a library for the Republic of Texas, though
no action was taken until 1839, when a “national library” was established. In the same year,
the Republic of Texas’ archives were moved from Houston to the new capital of Austin. With
fears of Mexican invasion in 1842, the Republic’s archives were ordered to be moved back to
Houston (leading to the Archives War). The Texas Library and Historical Commission was
created in 1909, and it was the first time the Texas State Library and Texas State Archives are
located in one agency. Since then there have been numerous milestones for the agency
including the following:
• 1947: The first records management program is established.
• 1959: The Texas Historical Commission is created.
• 1961: The completion of the new State Archives and Library Building.
• 1989: The Local Government Records Act is passed, allowing the State Library to develop
standards and provide assistance for records management programs for approximately 8800
local government/county offices in Texas.
• 2003: The number of commissioners is increased by the Texas Legislature to seven.
• 2007: Sunset bill reauthorized the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for 12 years.
Source: Texas State Library and Archives Commission, The History of the Texas State Library and
Archives Commission, https://www.tsl.texas.gov/agency/history.html.
• The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is both the official name
of the agency as well as the agency’s governing board. There are seven
members on the agency’s governing board, each of whom is appointed by
the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The members of the
governing board serve staggered 6 year terms, and they generally convene
to meet five times per year. The duties of the governing board include the
• Appoint and supervise Director and Librarian and Assistant State Librarian
• Review and approve strategic plans, appropriation requests, operating
budgets, internal audit documents, employment and management policies,
etc. of the State Library
• Review and adopt rules for administering legislative mandates of the State
Source: Texas State Library and Archives Commission, About Our Commission,
One of the duties of the governing board is to appoint and supervise the Director and
Librarian and Assistant State Librarian, which are the Executive Offices for the
agency. The Executive Offices in turn supervises the following six Divisions of the
•Information Resources Technologies
•State & Local Records Management
•Archives & Information Services
•Library Development and Networking
•Talking Book Program
Source: Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Our Current Organizational
Chart (FY2013) https://www.tsl.texas.gov/agency/orgchart.html.
Did You Know?
Due to its extensive history, the Texas State Library and
Archives Commission’s resources include the following:
• Copies of bills/resolutions introduced from the first Congress of
the Republic of Texas (1836-1972)
• Legislative, executive, judicial, and military records (including
official records of many Texas leaders)
• Audio recordings of senate committee meetings and floor
• Digital audio recordings of senate committee meetings and floor
debates (1971-1978) and Senate Bill 1
• Texas session laws
Source: Guide to Texas Legislative Information, Texas State
TSLAC - Authority to Establish Retention
Schedules and Enforcement
• The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has the
authority, through Texas Government Code Section
441.158, to develop retention schedules for government
entities. In fact, one of the duties of the Director and
Librarian is to “prepare and distribute free of charge to
records management officers of affected local
governments the records retention schedules for each
type of local government, including a schedule for
records common to all types of local government.” (Tex.
Govt. Code Section 441.158(a))
• The Commission then adopts the retention schedule for
local governments by rule. (Tex. Govt. Code Section
TSLAC Authority (cont’d)
The term “Local governments” has been defined in the Texas
Government Code, Chapter 441, Libraries and Archives, as “a
county, including all district and precinct offices of a
county, municipality, public school district, appraisal
district, or any other special-purpose district or authority.”
(Tex. Govt. Code Section 441.151(7))
The same definition is in Section 201.003(7), Local
Section 201.003, Local Gov’t Code:
(1) "Commission" means the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
(2) "Custodian" means the appointed or elected public officer who by the state constitution, state
law, ordinance, or administrative policy is in charge of an office that creates or receives local government
(3) "Designee" means an employee of the commission designated by the director and librarian as provided by
Section 441.167, Government Code.
(4) "Director and librarian" means the executive and administrative officer of the Texas State Library and
(5) "Essential record" means any local government record necessary to the resumption or continuation of
government operations in an emergency or disaster, to the re-creation of the legal and financial status of
the government, or to the protection and fulfillment of obligations to the people of the state.
(6) "Governing body" means the court, council, board, commission, or other body established or authorized by
law to govern the operations of a local government. In those instances in which authority over an office or
department of a local government is shared by two or more governing bodies or by a governing body and
the state, the governing body, for the purposes of this subtitle only, is the governing body that provides
most of the operational funding for the office or department.
(7) "Local government" means a county, including all district and precinct offices of a
county, municipality, public school district, appraisal district, or any other special-purpose district or
Definition – Local Government Records
Section 201.003 (8):
"Local government record" means any document, paper, letter, book, map, photograph, sound or video
recording, microfilm, magnetic tape, electronic medium, or other information recording
medium, regardless of physical form or characteristic and regardless of whether public access to it is open
or restricted under the laws of the state, created or received by a local government or any of its officers or
employees pursuant to law, including an ordinance, or in the transaction of public business. The term does
(A) extra identical copies of documents created only for convenience of reference or research by officers
or employees of the local government;
(B) notes, journals, diaries, and similar documents created by an officer or employee of the local
government for the officer's or employee's personal convenience;
(C) blank forms;
(D) stocks of publications;
(E) library and museum materials acquired solely for the purposes of reference or display;
(F) copies of documents in any media furnished to members of the public to which they are entitled
under Chapter 552, Government Code, or other state law; or
(G) any records, correspondence, notes, memoranda, or documents, other than a final written
agreement described by Section 2009.054(c), Government Code, associated with a matter conducted
under an alternative dispute resolution procedure in which personnel of a state department or
institution, local government, special district, or other political subdivision of the state participated
as a party, facilitated as an impartial third party, or facilitated as the administrator of a dispute
resolution system or organization.
201.003, Local Gov’t Code:
(9) "Office" means any office, department, division, program, commission, bureau, board, committee, or
similar entity of a local government.
(10) "Permanent record" or "record of permanent value" means any local government record for which the
retention period on a records retention schedule issued by the commission is given as permanent.
(11) "Record" means a local government record.
(12) "Records control schedule" means a document prepared by or under the authority of a records
management officer listing the records maintained by a local government or an elective county
office, their retention periods, and other records disposition information that the records management
program in each local government or elective county office may require.
(13) "Records management" means the application of management techniques to the
creation, use, maintenance, retention, preservation, and disposal of records for the purposes of reducing
the costs and improving the efficiency of recordkeeping. The term includes the development of records
control schedules, the management of filing and information retrieval systems, the protection of essential
and permanent records, the economical and space-effective storage of inactive records, control over the
creation and distribution of forms, reports, and correspondence, and the management of micrographics
and electronic and other records storage systems.
(14) "Records management officer" means the person identified under Section 203.001 or designated under
Section 203.025 as the records management officer.
(15) "Records retention schedule" means a document issued by the Texas State Library and Archives
Commission under authority of Subchapter J, Chapter 441, Government Code, establishing mandatory
retention periods for local government records.
(16) "Retention period" means the minimum time that must pass after the creation, recording, or receipt of a
record, or the fulfillment of certain actions associated with a record, before it is eligible for destruction.
Destruction of Records
• Section 202.001, Local Government Code:
• a) A local government record may be destroyed if:
(1) the record is listed on a records control schedule accepted for filing by the director and
librarian as provided by Section 203.041 and either its retention period has expired or it
has been microfilmed or stored electronically in accordance with the requirements of
Chapters 204 and 205;
(2) the record appears on a list of obsolete records approved by the director and librarian
as provided by Section 203.044; or
(3) a destruction request is filed with and approved by the director and librarian as
provided by Section 203.045 for a record not listed on an approved control schedule.
• (b) The following records may be destroyed without meeting the conditions of Subsection
(1) records the destruction or obliteration of which is directed by an expunction order
issued by a district court pursuant to state law; and
(2) records defined as exempt from scheduling or filing requirements by rules adopted by
the commission or listed as exempt in a records retention schedule issued by the
Litigation & Open Records Requests
Section 202.002, Local Government Code:
• (a) Regardless of any other provision of this
subtitle or rules adopted under it, a local
government record the subject matter of which is
known by the custodian to be in litigation may
not be destroyed until the litigation is settled.
• (b) Regardless of any other provision of this
subtitle or rules adopted under it, a local
government record subject to a request under
Chapter 552, Government Code, may not be
destroyed until the request is resolved.
Method of Destruction
Section 202.003, Local Government Code:
• (a) A local government record may be destroyed by burning,
shredding, pulping, or burial in a landfill or by sale or donation for
recycling purposes except as provided by Subsection (b).
• (b) Records to which public access is restricted under Chapter 552,
Government Code, or other state law may be destroyed only by
burning, pulping, or shredding.
• (c) A local government that sells or donates records for recycling
purposes shall establish procedures for ensuring that the records
are rendered unrecognizable as local government records by the
• (d) The director and librarian may approve other methods of
destruction that render the records unrecognizable as local
Retention Schedules & Policies
• Governmental entities adopt and approve
retention schedules and polices to document
how their records shall be maintained and
• The TSLAC approves those retention schedules.
• TSLAC provides “model” retention schedules for
governmental entities subject to Local
Government Code, Chapter 203. (See
also, Section 441.158, Chapter 441, Government
Retention Schedules Applicable to
The Lower Colorado River Authority is subject
to four of the schedules:
• GR - Records Common to All Local Governments;
• PS - Records of Public Safety Agencies
• PW - Records of Public Works and other
• UT - Records of Utility Services
Application of Retention Policies
• LCRA’s Information and Records Department
oversees the LCRA Records Management
Program established in LCRA policy.
• Information and Records staff assist employees
with classifying, managing, storing and
appropriately disposing of the information
created in LCRA’s day-to-day business operations.
• The mandates for Information and Records are
provided by state law, Board policy and retention
schedule, regulatory obligations and sound
“The Director and Librarian may designate
employees of the commission to act as
deputies in the approval or disapproval or
acceptance or rejection for filing of any
records control schedule, destruction
authorization request, electronic storage
authorization request, or other statutory filing
required by Subtitle C, Title 6, Local
Government Code, or rules adopted under it.”
(Tex. Govt. Code Section 441.167)
•Additionally, the Director and Librarian has the authority under Local
Government Code Section 203.050 to inspect the permanent records of local
•Section 203.050(a) expressly states: “The Director and Librarian or the
authorized representative of the director and librarian is entitled to inspect in
the offices of any local government or elected county officer the condition of
any permanent record to which access by the director and librarian or the
representative is not restricted by law.”
•If the local government has failed to properly preserve or handle permanent
records, then the local government is notified by the director and librarian. If
after being notified the required measures to preserve the record have not
been taken, then the director and librarian may demand and receive delivery of
the permanent record or make copies for preservation purposes.
It is a Class A misdemeanor if an officer or an
employee of a local government “knowingly or
intentionally” destroys or alienates local government
records in contravention to Subtitle C (Records
provisions applying to more than one type of local
government) or intentionally fails to deliver records
to a successor in office. (Tex. Local Gov. Code Section
Issues and Concerns
• The “purpose served” categories no longer exist.
• Technology is a wonderful thing…unless you’re
trying to keep track of records and documents.
Which document is the official record?
When can an electronic (or hard copy) be destroyed
Email, Texts, IM….don’t get me started!
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+,
Viber, Vimeo, Tumblr…somebody stop me!
Issues and Concerns (cont’d)
• Authorization for Destruction is not a heavy metal
• AFD Process for hard copies
o Establish process
o Relatively easy (stop laughing) to track what is up for
• AFD process for electronic copies
o Process needs to be established to include all storage and
platforms such as EDMS, SharePoint, Excel, cloud storage
o Can you establish tickler system in each to identify when an
electronic record has met retention?
Statue of Texas hero Angelina Eberly in downtown Austin, Texas.
This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. Information from its description page there is shown below.
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On October 18, 1839, President Mirabeau B. Lamar and his cabinet dined in her tavern and his successor, Sam
Houston, resided at Eberly House rather than the presidential mansion. Jacob Eberly died in 1841.
In December 1842, Houston ordered the secret removal of the archives of the Republic to safekeeping in
Washington-on-the-Brazos. Mrs. Eberly, realizing that the symbols of national government were being removed
from the city, fired a six-pound cannon into the General Land Office Building, arousing the town to what they
considered theft. The ensuing conflict became known as the Archive War, which was won by the
Austinites, preserving Austin as capital of Texas and keeper of the archives.
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Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization)