“How long do we keep the employment service records of board, commission, or committee members?”

By Angela Ossar, Government Information Analyst

Subcommitee meeting agenda found inside an old edition of Kafka’s The Trial, 1955. Photographer: Aaron Matthews.

This week’s Question of the Week is: Do you have to keep board, commission, or committee members’ employment service records permanently? This question was asked after a discussion of Public Access Option forms at the TMCA Lone Star Chapter’s Records Management Workday on July 14th in Plano.

The short answer is yes — but the way one defines “board, commission, or committee” is important. For purposes of records retention, there is a huge difference between, say, City Council and the Arts Festival Subcommittee from the image above.

Obviously, there are many types of boards, commissions, and committees in city and county government. We’ll talk about two of them — those who make decisions on behalf of government, and those who do not.

The first type we’ll discuss is a governing body that serves as the chief legislative and executive body — one that makes decisions, creates policies/procedures, or passes resolutions on behalf of the city, county, or organization. These members are usually elected or appointed to their position. A few examples of this type of governing body are City Councils, Boards of Directors, or Commissioners Courts.

For this type of board, commission, or committee, yes, you will need to maintain their employment service file just as you would any other employee in accordance with GR1050-12. This record must include, at a minimum: name; sex; date of birth; social security number; positions held with dates of hire, promotion, transfer, or demotion; dates of leaves of absence or suspension that affect computation of length of service; wage or salary rate for each position held, including step or merit increases within grades; and date of separation.

The other type of “boards, commissions, or committees” are the numerous advisory boards, committees, and panels that volunteer or are appointed to advise the government on issues, but do not actually make decisions on behalf of the government. Sometimes these individuals are not required to disclose all of their contact information or other personal identifying information to hold the position. These individuals do not receive pay, benefits, or reimbursement for their service, and generally serve on the group for a short period of time. Their records should be treated as Volunteer Service Files (PW5600-05). The retention period for a Volunteer Service File is Termination of Services + 3 years.

On the proposed revisions to Local Schedule GR, this record series item will be added so volunteer records can be covered for all governments, and not just those who follow Local Schedule PW.

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