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In the Loop - May 2008

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

TIP: maintaining personal information (29-MAY-2008)

Personal information relates solely to your personal and private affairs. Unlike records or nonrecords, it is not government owned material and does not relate to Agency business. Personal information includes materials:

  • accumulated before joining the Agency and not used to conduct Agency business (e.g., work papers from a previous job, college papers or notes);
  • related to family matters, outside business pursuits, professional activities, or private matters (e.g., home utility bills, tax papers, sports schedules); and
  • not prepared, used, circulated, or communicated in the course of transacting government business (e.g., diaries, journals, correspondence).

Whether personal information is stored in your office filing cabinets or on your work computer, you must keep it separated from your records. Before you choose to keep personal information in EPA provided equipment at your office or flexiplace site, remember that there is no guarantee of privacy for information stored on EPA provided equipment.

See "Frequent Questions about Personal Papers" and EPA Order 2101.0 (PDF) for more information about maintaining personal information.

ALERT: RACO 2008 Presentations (23-MAY-2008)

Presentations from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) May 6, 2008 RACO conference are available online.

The conference offered presentations on case studies in effective records management including:

  • Planning and Developing an Enterprise Content Management System (ECMS)
  • Designing and Implementing a Records Management Application (RMA)
  • Outsourcing RM: Using Contractors Effectively
  • Transition: Briefing Departing and Incoming Federal Appointees
  • Integrating Records Management into Critical Agency Programs - Enterprise Architecture, Privacy, Declassification

Tip of the Week: keeping it together (22-MAY-2008)

A "record series" is a group of documents or files that are kept together in a filing system because they are related to the same activity, transaction, or decision-making process. Together, they provide a complete record of what transpired.

A common mistake is to see related documents as individual records and to try to file them in separate files. For example, the documents listed below could be assigned to different files.

Document Type File Code and Title
Correspondence401 127a - General Correspondence
Meeting minutes401 110a - Office Administrative Files
Special studies108 005a - Special Studies
Personnel assignments403-256 122a - Supervisors' Personnel Files and Duplicate OPF Documentation

But if, for example, the documents all relate to the day-to-day management of your program, they would all be part of the record series for program management.

Document Type File Code and Title
Correspondence 
Meeting minutes 
Special studies301 093 006 - Program Management Files
Personnel assignments 

Always consider the business process behind the records when filing your documents.

See Six Steps to Better Files for more tips on improving your filing system.

Tip of the Week: Who has the record? (13-MAY-2008)

Confusion often occurs when several staff members realize they are keeping copies of the same record. Who has the record copy? Often, the answer is that they all do because each one uses their copy for a different purpose and will maintain it under a different records schedule.

For example:

personnel records that are used by are maintained under
staff to document personnel actions in the Official Personnel Folder (OPF) schedule 553
supervisors for employee guidance and are duplicates of records found in the OPF schedule 122
staff as reference or nonrecord copies of their own personnel records schedule 008
travel vouchers that are used by are maintained under
financial offices to document records of financial transactions or as records for site audits schedule 278
administrative staff to account for employee time and expense while on travel schedule 028
staff as reference or nonrecord copies for submitting future travel requests schedule 008
budget reports that are used by are maintained under
staff in a budget offices to develop office-level budgets to be included in the Agency-wide budget schedule 040
program management staff to monitor expenditures within their programs or projects schedule 006
staff as reference or nonrecord copies of activity within their program schedule 008

However, if one staff member has been designated as the record's custodian (i.e., the person legally responsible for the records) then that staff member is the only person with the record copy.

For example:

committee records maintained by are maintained under
the designated custodian of records documenting meetings for internal committees, non-rulemaking workgroups and task forces within EPA schedule 187
staff or other committee members as reference or nonrecord copies of activity within the committee schedule 008
publications maintained by are maintained under
the designated custodian of records in the generating office schedule 250
staff as reference or nonrecord copies for informational purposes schedule 008
published directives maintained by are maintained under
the designated custodian of records in the issuing office schedule 007
staff as reference or nonrecord copies for informational purposes schedule 008

See "What is a record?" and the "10 Most Frequent Questions about Records" for more information about identifying your records. You can also contact your Records Liaison Officer (RLO) or the Records Help Desk for assistance with identifying and scheduling your records.

Tip of the Week: Records management and PARS (06-MAY-2008)

Your mid-year Performance Appraisal and Recognition System (PARS) review should include a discussion of goals and objectives concerning your recordkeeping responsibilities. Based on the recommendation of the Document and Records Management Work Group (DRMWG), PARS plans of employees with specific records responsibilities should address records management critical elements (MS WORD) and performance measures no later than October 1, 2008, to cover the performance plan for Fiscal Year 2009.

See Molly O'Neill's February 25, 2008 memo (PDF) for more information on adding records management responsibilities, including sample language, to PARS plans and Kenneth Venuto's April 30, 2008 memo for more information on PARS mid-year progress reviews.


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