Update: Proposed Revisions to Local Schedule GR and State Records Retention Schedule

A proposed revision for Local Government Schedule GR and the Texas State Records Retention Schedule has been posted in the September 30, 2011 issue of the Texas Register. The revision would change retention periods for correspondence.

These proposals stem from a petition received by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission requesting to increase the retention periods for Administrative Correspondence to 5 years and General Correspondence to 4 years. In discussion with the petitioner, the Commission acknowledged a concern that correspondence of elected officials and governmental bodies are not being retained long enough to adequately document actions and decision-making processes of Texas governments. The petitioner raised a specific concern for the current 3-year retention period for Administrative correspondence because it does not adequately cover a typical 4-year term for elected officials and members of governing bodies.

Another concern is regarding possible violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act for which there is 4-year residual limitations period (see Texas Open Meetings Handbook, XI (B)). The Commission agreed with the petitioner’s issues but were concerned that an increase for all correspondence would be overly burdensome for governments to maintain. Keeping in mind the need for public inspection of records and the efficient management of records, RMA staff developed a compromised proposal that addresses both of these issues.

For Local Schedule GR, the following changes are being proposed:

  • New record series added: GR1000-09 Correspondence of Elected Officials and Governmental Bodies – Correspondence sent or received by, or on behalf of, elected and appointed officials, executive staff, and members of governmental bodies as defined by Government Code, Section 551.001(3). RETENTION: 4 years.
  • Increased retention period: GR1000-26a Administrative Correspondence from 3 years to 4 years.

For the Texas State Records Retention Schedule, the following changes are being proposed:

  • New record series: 1.1.007 Correspondence, Executive – Correspondence sent or received by, or on behalf of, elected and appointed officials, executive staff, and members of governmental bodies as defined by Government Code, Section 551.001(3). RETENTION: 4 years.
  • Increased retention period: 1.1.008 Correspondence – Administrative from 3 years to 4 years.

No changes were made to records series of calendars, appointment, and itinerary records.

These proposed changes to Local Schedule GR and the Texas State Records Retention Schedule were originally posted in the September 2, 2011 issue of the Texas Register  for public comment, but due to a submission error there was a discrepancy between the description of the changes in the preamble of the submission and the figures attached. The error was corrected in the September 30, 2011 issue and the preamble of the proposed rule now accurately reflects the changes being proposed.

Written comments on the proposed changes may be submitted to Nanette Pfiester, Program Planning and Research Specialist, P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711; by fax to (512) 421-7201; or by email to nanette.pfiester@tsl.texas.gov.  If you previously submitted comments to the September 2, 2011 issue your comments do not need to be resubmitted and will be included with any comments received from the September 30, 2011 submission.