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Records Disposal - 14260_77
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Methods of Disposition
transaction   of   public   business   and   preserved   or appropriate  for  preservation  by  that  agency  or  its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions,  policies,  decisions,  procedures,  operations,  or other activities of the government or because of the information value of data in them. Library and museum material made or acquired or preserved  solely  for  reference  or  exhibition  purposes, extra  copies  of  documents  preserved  only  for convenience of reference, and stocks of publications and of processed documents are not included. The Standard Organization and Regulations of the U.S. Navy (SORM), OPNAVINST 3120.32B, defines official  correspondence  as  all  written  material, documents, publications, charts, messages, and so forth, addressed to or sent from a command. These regulations prohibit persons having custody, possession, or control of  official  correspondence,  forms,  or  records  knowingly to deliver them or divulge their contents to any person not  authorized  to  receive  them.  They  prohibit  selling, bartering,   or   trading   official   correspondence   for monetary  gain  or  other  consideration. Nonrecord  material,  then,  may  be  defined  as  any material that serves no documentary or record purpose. (See SECNAVINST 5212.5C, appendix F, item 69.) In other words, it is material that is not worth having around except for a limited time. Within this category are items such as the following: Rough drafts, extra copies of letters kept for convenience  of  reference  or  for  tickler  purposes Some forms of publications received from other than  government  agencies  and  commercial  firms (catalogs,  trade  journals) Items of only temporary value that serve no purpose  once  action  is  completed Reproduction  materials,  such  as  stencils, hectograph  masters,  and  offset  plates Shorthand  notes,  stenographic  notebooks,  and stenotype tapes that have been transcribed It isn’t always easy, or necessafy, to draw a neat distinction  between  record  and  nonrecord  material  and apply a hard and fast rule to each item. Each should be matched  with  a  retention  standard  from  SECNAVINST 5212.5C, and regularly disposed of by destruction or transfer to a records center. On rare occasions, it may be decided that because of some special circumstance, some items normally scheduled for destruction should be retained longer or indefinitely. In such cases the items would be transferred to a records center for further retention, rather than destroyed. But if you are as familiar with the business of your office as you should be, you won’t have much trouble in applying the right disposal provisions to the records as they accumulate. And, normally, records should be disposed of promptly as  scheduled. Going back to the wording of the 82 Statute 1299, “appropriate for preservation” gives you a good rule of thumb as to whether or not an item should be destroyed or  even  filed  in  the  first  place,  although  almost everything that comes into your hands is filed for at least a short time. WHAT GOVERNS DISPOSAL The United  States  Code  provides  for  fines  and penalties including imprisonment, for unlawful and willful  destruction  or  removal  of  government  records. The Records Disposal Act of 1943 established the means to obtain legal authority for destruction of government records that are of no future value. This authority is granted by the Archivist of the United States. The National  Archives  and  Records  Administration  (NARA) establishes   procedures   pertaining   to   disposal   of government  records. To  avoid  indiscriminate  destruction  or  removal  of Navy records, Navy Regulations, 1990, Article 1115, states,   “No  person  without  proper  authority  shall withdraw official records or destroy them or withdraw them from those persons authorized to have access to them.” AUTHORITY FOR DISPOSAL SECNAVINST 5212.5C provides the authority for disposition  of  naval  records,  including  naval correspondence,  accumulated  by  naval  activities  ashore and  afloat.  Recommendations  for  changes  to  this instruction must be addressed to the Chief of Naval Operations. Recommended changes must include a description  of  the  records,  a  statement  of  their  purpose and use, and justification for the change. A sample should  be  submitted  for  any  record  recommended  for periodic  destruction. DISPOSITION RESPONSIBILITY The individual responsible for custody of official records  at  your  activity  also  has  the  additional responsibility of making sure official files are disposed of  according  to  the  appropriate  disposal  instructions. 6-8

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