Mum's the word on record management rule

Mum's the word on record management rule

By Christopher J. Dorobek
GCN Staff

The National Records and Archives Administration has decided not to issue any guidance to agencies about how to handle electronic records now that a court case concerning the government's record-keeping policies has been appealed to the Supreme Court.

Notice posted

On Nov. 9, five days after the appeal was filed, NARA posted a notice on its Web site that merely told agencies that Public Citizen, the Washington public interest group that has been spearheading the case, had filed the petition with the Supreme Court. NARA's notice is posted on the Web at www.nara.gov/records/grs20/00-028.html.

'Discussions about the latest development in the General Records Schedule 20 case are going on within the government, and I don't have a statement at this time,' NARA spokesman Gerald George said.

On Nov. 4, Public Citizen filed the petition seeking to reverse an appeals court ruling that restored GRS-20 [GCN, Nov. 8, Page 6]. A lower-court ruling had voided the policy, which lets agencies delete electronic records as long as they have made copies in some format. Public Citizen has argued that GRS-20 is tantamount to letting agencies print and delete electronic records.

Public Citizen lawyer Michael Tankersley recommended that agencies identify electronic records that are potentially worthy of permanent preservation.

NARA and the Justice Department have up to 60 days to file responses to Public Citizen's petition with the Supreme Court.

The court is expected to decide early next year whether it will hear the case.

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