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In the Loop - July 2007

Some In The Loop articles and links are pertinent to EPA staff and are available to EPA Intranet users only.

Tip of the Week: Adequate and proper documentation (17-JUL-2007)

You are responsible for creating records that provide "adequate and proper documentation" of your activities at EPA. This means you must save everything needed to provide a complete account of your actions or decisions.

When deciding what to include in your records, consider the following:

  • legal or financial risks
  • audit needs
  • public access requirements
  • needs of day-to-day management
  • historical significance

When reviewing a document, ask yourself:

  • Does it truly contribute to an understanding of what took place?
  • Does it involve the legal or financial rights of the government or persons affected by the Agency's actions?

If you answer "yes" to either question, the document should be included in your records.

Tip of the Week: Verbal communications (10-JUL-2007)

What you say may be a federal record. Of course, not every conversation is a record; but ones that make a decision or commitment on behalf of the Agency are.

Verbal communications can be in-person or over a distance, and include:

  • face-to-face meetings and conversations,
  • audio or video conference calls,
  • telephone calls (including mobile phones, walkie-talkies, CB radios, and Voice over IP (VoIP)), and
  • voicemail messages.

If important verbal communications are not documented elsewhere (e.g., formal meeting minutes), you can easily capture them by:

  • writing a memo with the date, time, participants, and details of the conversation, and filing it in a paper recordkeeping system; or

  • sending an e-mail to the participants with that same information, and saving it in the Enterprise Content Management System (ECMS).

Tip of the Week: Article reviews (03-JUL-2007)

EPA staff often receive requests from outside the Agency to review and comment on journal articles being considered for publication.

See 334 - Manuscripts of Articles Written by EPA Personnel for guidance on articles written by Agency staff.


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