Managing Records for Departing Senior Agency Officials
DATE: September 11, 2008
SUBJECT: Managing Records of Departing Senior Agency Officials
FROM: Molly A. O'Neill
Assistant Administrator and Chief Information Officer
TO: All Agency Senior Officials
The purpose of this memorandum is to remind all senior EPA officials to follow federal record-keeping requirements for maintaining and disposing of Agency records during Administration transition or before leaving EPA. It is critical that you work closely with your administrative staff, if applicable, and your Records Liaison Officer (RLO) to transfer custody of Agency records before you depart.
While all federal employees must create and preserve records that document "the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency" (44 U.S.C. 3101), EPA senior officials' records are especially important because many of those records are considered "permanent" (i.e., they must be maintained by EPA and then transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration for permanent safe keeping). Before leaving the Agency, we recommend that you designate a staff person who can assist with the review and transfer of your hard copy and e-mail files.
A sample list of permanent record types you may have and must preserve include the following:
- Calendars, schedules and logs of daily activities;
- Committee records, including federal advisory boards, inter-Agency and external committees and councils in which you participated;
- Program development files documenting EPA's policies and programs, including correspondence, briefings, issue papers and reports on policy, strategy, research and legislative priorities, program evaluation and planning, and related topics;
- Reports to Congress and/or the President; and,
- Speeches and testimony.
Please remember that e-mail messages can be maintained as Agency records using the Enterprise Content Management System (ECMS), or they may be printed to paper and filed in your office's paper recordkeeping system, along with other non-electronic records. Printed e-mail records must include essential transmission data, names of sender and recipients, e-mail date and any attachments such as a Word document or other file types. Please remember that the Lotus Notes e-mail system and any system backup tapes are not recordkeeping systems.
Examples of e-mail messages that may constitute Federal records include:
- E-mail providing key substantive comments on a draft action memorandum, if the e-mail message adds to a proper understanding of the formulation or execution of Agency action; E-mail providing documentation of significant Agency decisions and oral commitments (person to person, by telecommunications, or in conference) not otherwise documented in Agency files; and,
- E-mail conveying information of value on important Agency activities if the e-mail message adds to a proper understanding of Agency operations and responsibilities.
Documents you generate or receive may also need to be preserved pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), discovery requests and litigation, or other legal requirements. Please remember that officials and employees may not remove extra copies of records or other work related material without the approval of the EPA Records Officer or General Counsel.
To find your organization's RLO, please visit the Records Web site at:
I appreciate your attention to this important responsibility. Should you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact John B. Ellis, EPA's Records Officer, at 202-566-1643; firstname.lastname@example.org.
cc: Information Management Officials (IMOs)
IRM Branch Chiefs
Record Liaison Officers (RLOs)