'Record' means books, letters, documents, papers, maps, photographs, films, cards, tapes recordings, electronic data or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics: which are prepared, owned, received or retained by a governmental entity or political subdivision; and were all the information in the original is reproducible by photocopy or other mechanical or electronic means. Utah Code 63-2-103(1)(a)
The Government Records Access and Management Act (commonly known as GRAMA) is a comprehensive records law dealing with the management of government records, who is entitled to access those records, the exercise and enforcement of access rights, and the establishment of the State Archives. GRAMA states that it is the responsibility of Utah's governmental entities and political subdivisions to "establish and maintain an active, continuing program for the economical and efficient management of the governmental entity's records (Utah Code 63-2-903(1))." The State Archives was created to assist state and local agencies in meeting their records responsibilities by establishing standards and procedures for effective records management.
In accordance with Utah Code 63-2-905(2) "all records created or maintained by a political subdivision of the state are the property of the state and shall not be mutilated, destroyed, or otherwise damaged or disposed of, in whole or in part" without the approval of the State Records Committee. This does not mean, however, that county agencies must contact the State Records Committee each time they wish to dispose of records. Instead, disposition consent is handled expeditiously through the use of records retention schedules. Each section of the County General Records Retention Schedule has been approved by the State Records Committee and authorizes county officials to dispose of obsolete records in accordance with the approved dispositions.
The schedules indicate the minimum length of time that records must be retained. In establishing these legal minimum retention periods and developing schedules, State Archives personnel inventoried county records, consulted county agency personnel on the function of the records on how they are used and how long they are likely to be needed administratively for government business. The Archives' next step was to research potential federal and state audit, legal, and other program requirements. The schedules were then submitted to all appropriate county agencies for comment. Final drafts were prepared and submitted to the State Records Committee for their review and approval. After requested corrections were negotiated, the Committee approved the schedules during their regular meetings.
This general schedule covers the majority of all county records. However, due to the diversity and rapidly changing functions of county government, new records are continually being created. Therefore, some county records may not be included.
Experience has shown that most offices which have never been scheduled for records retention and disposition can expect to destroy one-third of their records, transfer another one-third to a semi-active records storage center, and retain only one-third in the office. It is our hope that this publication will encourage counties to clean out their file cabinets and storage areas by regularly destroying obsolete records. We encourage offices to contact the Archives with any specific questions about this publication or for assistance with other records management problems.
How Do I Use This Schedule?This general schedule provides a listing of records commonly found in county offices in Utah. Individual schedules indicate the minimum length of time each record series should be retained. Since retentions are based on common circumstances, they may not cover all situations and records may need to be retained beyond the approved retention.
This general schedule is a model for all county agencies. It may be used independently within the separate agencies, but if records come to the State Archives for microfilming, storage at the State Records Center, or permanent preservation in the Archives, additional information may be sought to provide a more complete description.
The following steps are recommended in using this publication:
1. Study the County General Records Retention Schedule and your agency specific retention schedule if one exists. The first section of the County General Records Retention Schedule is for records common to all counties and is organized by record type (e.g., administrative records. The second section is for the records of county elected officials (e.g., County Assessor). The third section is for county departments (e.g., Aging and Adult Services).
2. Identify the records in your agency that are listed in these schedules. While there is great similarity between counties, all are not organized the same. It may be necessary to look in more than one section to identify the records maintained by your office. There are subject and title indexes to assist you in identifying a specific record.
3. Examine all areas where records are stored.
4. Identify those records that have met their retention periods and authorize their final disposition.
5. If you need assistance call the State Archives (538-3012).
The schedules are organized in the following format:
Schedule numberThis publication contains thirty-one individual schedules. The schedule number is a reference number assigned to each separate schedule.
Item numberThis is a reference number assigned to each record within an individual schedule. It is used with the schedule number to identify a specific record.
Record series titleThis is the title most commonly used by county agencies for the described record series. Other common titles are included in the descriptions and are also included in the index.
DescriptionThis is a short paragraph which describes the usage and contents of the record. It serves as an aid in identifying specific records.
RetentionThe time period indicates the minimum length of time that the record should be retained by the agency before disposition of the record series can take place. All retentions and dispositions have been approved by the State Records Committee.
DispositionThis is the final action indicated for a record series which has met its retention period. Disposition includes destroy, transfer to the State Archives, and or retain permanently in agency custody. It is included in the retention field.
This is a suggested classification and is only provided to assist agencies in classifying agency records. County agencies are responsible for classifying their own records (See Appendix 4, page 377).
Three abbreviations are frequently used in the description, retention, and classification areas. Utah Code refers to the Utah Code Annotated, CFR for the Code of Federal Regulations, and CJA to the Code of Judicial Administration. They are used to signify legal requirements for specific records.
Retention periods in this general schedule apply to one "record" or the official copy which is designated by the county (usually its creating agency).
Court records do not appear in this county retention schedule. The Judicial Council is solely responsible for approving the retentions for all court records. A separate court records retention schedule can be obtained from the Courts Records Manager at the Utah Court Administrator's Office (533-3884).
The decision was made to publish separately the Hospitals and Nursing Facilities Records (Schedule 23). It will be made available to all public hospitals in Fall 1996.