SACCRIM Education Pamphlet on Navigating Change

Program Planning and Research Specialist Joshua Clark spoke with Veronica Barnes of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) about the educational pamphlet of the State Agency Coordinating Committee Records and Information Management (SACCRIM) subcommittee. Check out the previous educational pamphlets here. This interview was conducted by email between April and May 2023 and has been edited and condensed for clarity.

TSLAC: People in records and information management often say you “end up” in the field. How did you “end up” in records at TCEQ?

Veronica Barnes: After about three years as the Records Coordinator and Public Information Request (PIR) contact within a section of my previous agency, I was ready for new challenges, but knew I wanted them to revolve around records. TCEQ was offering a great opportunity and in taking it, I’ve grown to love records even more! As the agency Records Management Coordinator, I have the privilege of coordinating, monitoring, and managing records activities, to include overseeing the Central File Room (CFR) and organizing agency staff trainings.

TSLAC: What is SACCRIM and what benefits do you get from attending the SACCRIM meetings?

VB: SACCRIM is an assembly of Texas state agency records management officers, coordinators, and liaisons who meet once a month to discuss current topics or issues and share knowledge and solutions. It’s also a great opportunity to network and even meet up with former colleagues.

The meetings have an informal and welcoming quality where everyone’s questions and opinions are respected. It offers the rare benefit of regular gatherings of individuals with like-concerns and issues, some with years of experience and those of us who are a little greener. Most importantly, you never have to feel alone. Some of our responsibilities, such as reviewing bills for legislation, can be daunting, and these are the types of discussions that occur during meetings which can feature different perspectives or information about issues not yet on your radar.

Please see SACC’s website for more details about how to participate in upcoming meetings.

TSLAC: What is the Educational Project?

VB: The Educational Project is a resource for those who manage records in a hands-on and/or oversight capacity. All contributors are in the current state agency records world who have similar concerns and issues. As someone who had the privilege of working with some of my fellow SACCRIM members on this pamphlet, the project is produced with you in mind throughout the process.

TSLAC: How does this pamphlet help records management personnel?

VB: This pamphlet not only provides helpful guidance but also gives you confidence to manage challenges. Whether at the same agency for years or new to an agency, changes and challenges are inevitable. The three topics selected for this pamphlet – Partnerships, Preparation, and Policies – are the lifeboats when managing the inevitable.

TSLAC: If you had one piece of advice for a new records management officer, records manager, or liaison, what would it be?

VB: In addition to attend SACCRIM? Become multilingual! It’s important to be open to learning and the use of different terms relevant to the people you are working with. As explored in the current pamphlet, there are partnerships you’ll need to develop to be successful. The line, “Relate your ideas to your audience and work to establish common ground by using language that is accessible to all parties.” has been huge for me. There are some words we use in the records world which don’t always translate. One term I often got questions and push back on was “disposition.” I didn’t realize how a word so common to us was completely foreign to others in the sense we use it. Depending on my audience, I’ll either use the more streamlined term, “destruction” or say “destruction/disposition.”

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