(TRENTON) – The New Jersey Department of State's Division of Archives and Records Management will initiate a global review of all state departments' records retention practices and procedures in partnership with the State Records Committee. Secretary of State Regena L. Thomas said the Division's efforts will systematize and improve the efficiency of public records management. Acting Governor Richard J. Codey signed Executive Order 49 mandating the program on Friday, August 5, 2005.
Secretary Thomas, whose department oversees the Division of Archives and Records Management (DARM), hailed the signing of the executive order. “We are committed to improving the security, integrity, and efficiency of state government record-keeping and enhancing public access to records under OPRA,” said Thomas. “DARM will work collaboratively with the departments to enhance the efficiency of government operations by employing electronic and digital technology wisely to reduce records and storage costs, and to improve access to recorded information.”
DARM envisions a comprehensive, coordinated, interdepartmental archives and records administration program for all state agencies. According to division director Karl J. Niederer, the order calls for a statewide review of records retention practices and procedures in all executive branch agencies. “In the review, DARM will assess whether records are retained for the appropriate time period. If not, the State Records Committee will adjust the official retention schedules to reflect actual need.” Niederer said.
In cooperation with the Department of the Treasury, DARM will coordinate all offsite storage of agency records in state-owned or -leased facilities. The division will also manage the state's commercial records storage contract and monitor state agencies' use of commercial facilities.
Executive Order 49 also calls for the state Purchase Bureau and Office of Information Technology to consult with DARM on paper and electronic records storage and conversion services contracts and the purchase of records-related technology. All agencies are directed to have their electronic document imaging systems certified by the State Records Committee.
The order also strengthens DARM's mandate to enforce disposition of obsolete records.
Thomas emphasized that an efficient records management system promotes fiscal responsibility in government. “This executive order provides the basis for re-engineering the way public records are administered in New Jersey,” Thomas said.