County officials concerned the courthouse might be considered for the next installment of “Hoarders” are trying to determine what can be done with the many records that come through the offices of Clerk and Master Myra Mara and Circuit Court Clerk Bernie Morris.
Members of the county’s Building and Grounds Committee met last week to find a solution to the abundance of records – and lack of storage space – available in the courthouse.
Commissioner Dwight O’Neal asked County Executive John Pelham and members of the committee how to go about getting some of the files put on microfiche.
Commissioner Clinton “Pee Wee” Hill said, “We have been trying to do that for six years.”
O’Neal said, “Seriously, that is a safety issue. Those books are piled almost to the ceiling.”
The commissioners discussed how long certain records must be kept, with some estimates going back 40 years or more.
Pelham said the days of putting records on microfiche are over. “Now you take a computer and scan the item into it,” Pelham said.
O’Neal asked what the state was doing as far as keeping up with all of its documents. “The state may have a system in place and can let us know how they keep up with their files. We also need to know how long they must keep certain documents,” said O’Neal.
Pelham said he would look into that and find an answer. “I know the Public Records Commission must approve of anything that is to be disposed of and that committee has not met in a very long time,” said Pelham. “I know the items that must be kept have to be climate controlled.”
Mara said some records are permanent and must be kept forever. Those records include wills, deeds, minutes of the Warren County Commission, and the original process in a civil or criminal proceeding.
A complete Records Management Manual can be found online at the County Technical Assistance Services (CTAS) website. The manual explains how long certain records are to be kept and even tells disposal methods for records which can be destroyed. This manual is offered as a basic summary of laws, regulations and practices related to records management by county government offices.
The manual can be found online at www.ctas.tennessee.edu.
Committee members are inviting Mara and Morris to a specially called meeting to be held at the Administrative Building Conference Room this Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Members of the Building and Grounds Committee are Carl Bouldin, Hill, Michael Martin, O’Neal and Bessie Smithson.