Records Management Officer

Records Management Officer Resources

Duties of a Records Management Officer:

The SUNY System Records Management Officer coordinates the proper retention and disposition of records throughout University campuses and at the System Administration Office.  The campus RMO's job is to ensure proper retention and disposition of records at the campus level.  

The Records Management Officer role is established by SUNY Policy 6609, Records Retention and Disposition, pursuant to NYS Arts and Cultural Affairs Law Section 57.05 and Commissioner’s Regulations 8 NYCRR Part 188.  The policy requires a Records Management Officer at each location, and states as follows:

“Each campus should designate a local records management officer and notify the SUNY RMO of such designation. It is the responsibility of the campus RMO to report annually, by September 1 of each year, to the SUNY RMO on disposition actions taken by such campus during the previous academic year and to maintain the campus inventory of records. Requests for approval of retention schedules with shorter retention periods should be submitted by a campus through their local RMO to the SUNY RMO for transmittal to State Archives.”

Getting Started as an RMO:

  1. Join the SUNY System Records Management Officer Listserv (e-mail Nedra Abbruzzese-Werling, SUNY Records Management Officer at System Administration to be added to the listserv)
  2. Read SUNY's Records Retention and Disposition Policy (Document Number 6609) and  pay special attention to the Introduction section.
  3. Sit down with each office on campus to find out:
    • WHAT records they have
    • WHERE the records are housed
    • HOW they manage their records on a day to day basis
    • IF they have an effective plan for e-mail management
  4. Establish a Records Management Liaison/ designee/ coordinator in each office – someone who is charged with ensuring the Records Management of that particular office
    • This liaison should be encouraged to contact you regarding records questions they encounter
    • Assign this liaison to create an inventory of all the records they have in their area, where they are kept, and the retention schedule that governs each record
  5. New York Archives hosts training workshops on Records Management. The full list of trainings is available on the NY State Archives website http://www.archives.nysed.gov/a/workshops/index.shtml
  6. Communicate the importance of following the records retention schedule
    • The SUNY Records Retention schedule has been reviewed and approved by NYS Archives and OSC
  7. Ensure that the leaders on your campus know and understand the importance of adhering to the SUNY Schedule
  8. Get to know your campus IT Departments – being an RMO requires coordination with your Information Technology departments so that you are aware of how data is saved, stored, archived, and backed up
  9. Become the Counsel’s liaison for E-discovery on your campus, in accordance with the SUNY Legal Proceeding Preparation (E-Discovery) Procedure, Document Number 6610
    • Purpose of the Procedure: to provide guidance to aid (state-operated) University campuses, constituencies and officers in their efforts to prepare for and comply with “E-Discovery” responsibilities and demands
    • Summary of the Policy:  The procedure establishes a process by which campuses, along with their campus counsel, should respond to potential holds.  University officers, employees and agents who use electronic storage systems and programs must understand the basic operations of those systems and programs in order to manage records and “Electronically Stored Information” (ESI) according to applicable laws, regulations, policies, and retention schedules.  This includes understanding the duty to notify “Counsel” of potential “Triggering Events.  SUNY Office of General Counsel will make the ultimate determination of what constitutes a Triggering Event.  Following such a determination, Counsel will issue a “Legal Preservation Notice,” if necessary.  Counsel will then direct the “Legal Hold” process and, if necessary, the subsequent production of ESI.  “Key Persons” must cooperate with Counsel to identify, preserve, maintain, and produce ESI that is subject to a Legal Hold, and “IT Personnel” must assist Counsel in the same.  In order to prepare for the significant burden and responsibility that E-Discovery can impose on a campus, the best practice is for each campus to form an E-Discovery Response Team.  The E-Discovery Response Team will lead the campus-based efforts to comply with this Procedure
    • the Records Management Officer must discuss e-discovery protocol with your campus counsel so that you are prepared when information is requested or when a litigation hold is issued.

Each Year Thereafter:

Helpful Tips:

Create a Records Management Pamphlet to be given to all new employees in their HR packet upon their hiring, which communicates the Records Retention schedule and the importance of following it

Create awareness at your campus regarding the importance of Records Retention. The SUNY College at Brockport made a video to spread awareness on campus, available here.

When Records are Damaged:

Records that are damaged by water are not completely lost. Vendors have the ability to freeze the damaged records to retard any mold growth and then review your files. The State Archives maintains a list of disaster recovery vendors that includes vendors who will pick up your records, freeze them, and then freeze dry/restore them, see the New York State Archives page on Disaster Assistance.  Some of the vendors listed on the disaster recovery (and other) vendors list are on state contract. There is a link to OGS's state contract for Emergency Standby Services and the Hazardous Incident Response Equipment (HIRE) at the top of the disaster recovery list.

Before you destroy any records, you must obtain authorization from the Archives to do so. The process is simple and quick and I can certainly assist you in the process. For more information about requesting early destruction of records, refer to the New York State Archives website on early destruction of records.

For questions, contact the SUNY System Records Management Officer.

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The information contained on the SUNY Compliance website is for general campus guidance only and is not intended, nor can be relied upon, as legal advice or the imposition on SUNY campuses of specific policies or requirements. The site is intended to be an informational-only clearinghouse for some of the laws, rules, and regulations that may impact the State University of New York’s campuses. Additionally, given the rapid, changing nature of laws, rules and regulations, there may be delays or omissions contained on this site which therefore cannot be relied upon as complete. For complete compliance information, consult your campus compliance officials. For legal advice, consult your lawyer.

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