Ask Joe Eisner: “How does Gov. Cuomo’s memo about a 90-day e-mail management system impact my library?”

Q: How does Gov. Cuomo’s memo on a “standard 90-day e-mail management system for all State agencies impact my library?

A: Some newspapers reported that Governor Cuomo had announced a standard 90-day e-mail management system for all State agencies.

Cuomo’s Rule on Purging State Email (Kaplan, T.. (2015, March 12). Cuomo’s Rule on Purging State Email Roils Albany Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.omc

In a memo which applies only to State agencies, all e-mails sent or received after June 30, 2013 and thereafter would be purged from the user’s mailbox- unless the e-mail is subject to a FOIL request or litigation, it should be destroyed. Since the Governor does not control local government operations, the Governor’s memo does not affect local school boards, town or village governments, county legislatures, public or association libraries, and so on. But other rules and regulations do. Retention and proper disposition of all types of records, not just emails, is a responsibility of local agencies:

GUIDE TO LIBRARY RECORD RETENTION

What rules or regulations apply to local public library records retention and disposition and can also be utilized for guidance by association libraries?

The Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)- provides guidance on the retention and disposal of electronic communications. Local governments and agencies such as public libraries subject to FOIL are required to retain records with business value and provide access in accordance with the law.

Education Law s260-a requires association libraries and cooperative library systems to conduct their board meetings in accordance with the Open Meetings Law (OML). Any documents referred to at board meetings of association or public libraries or cooperative library systems or which are listed in the minutes are subject to a FOIL request, as are the minutes themselves. For guidance: go to the Committee on Open Government’s web site: http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/news/dec13.html

The New York State Archives has issued a memo, Guideline for Developing a Policy for Managing Email.

Records Retention and Disposition Schedules- for use by municipalities, school districts, special districts and public libraries, offering guidance on how long records should be kept.

Schedule MU-1 is for municipalities and their public libraries.

Schedule MI-1 is for use by school district public libraries and special district libraries.

A six page publication, Retention and Disposition of Library and Library Record Systems, provides basic information on records management.

Association libraries and cooperative library systems are not government units and do not need to adopt either of the above schedules to dispose of valueless records. However, for informational purposes the State Archives will furnish copies of retention schedules intended for use by local governments and provide, where possible, general advice on records management and archiving practices. The National Council of Nonprofits has published Document Retention Policies for Nonprofits.

Additionally, if the IRS has granted a library 501(c)(3) status as an exempt organization, the IRS publication “Compliance Guide for 501(c()3 Public Charities” should be consulted to determine records keeping requirements:.

The foregoing should not be construed as legal advice, for which the services of counsel should be obtained.

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