Establishing a Records Retention Schedule is a policy decision of the City Council. A Records Retention Schedule is a list of all records produced or maintained by an agency and the length of time for which those records are kept. It is within an agency’s legal authority to receive, create, retain, and dispose of official public records.
The Records Retention Schedule assists the agency by documenting the department / office of record, identifying which records are considered vital, which records have historic or research value, and which records should be destroyed because they no longer have administrative, fiscal, or legal value. In the event of litigation, courts accept a retention schedule as establishing an agency’s normal course for doing business.
Provisions within state and federal law mandate the minimum length of time certain types of records must be kept, including permanent retention for some documents. Additionally, an agency may opt to retain certain records longer than required by state and federal law.
The Records Retention Schedule, as called for within the Records Management Policy, was last updated by the City Council in 2018. Records management principles recommend periodically reviewing and updating the schedule to ensure an up-to-date inventory of documents and that the city’s retention periods are consistent with legal requirements.