Records Management Policy

Policy for managing City records.
Type Enterprise
Applies To City Council Departments
Synopsis City of Minneapolis to provide efficient, economical and effective controls over creation, distribution, organization, maintenance, use and disposition of all City records–regardless of form.
  • Council Approval Date: Unknown
  • Effective Date: May 4, 2000
  • Last Revised Date: Sept. 6, 2002
Keywords Management, records, records management
Administering Department City Clerk


A. Policy
B. Program Authority
C. Definition of Records
D. Public Access to Records
E. Records Manager and Department Records Coordinator
F. General Retention Schedule - Creation and Use
G. Governance & Responsibilities
H. Department Operational Schedules
I.  Destruction of Scheduled Records
J.  Destruction of Unscheduled Records
K. Suspension of Records


The City of Minneapolis provides for efficient, economical and effective controls over the creation, distribution, organization, maintenance, use and disposition of all City records – regardless of form. The City Clerks Office is responsible for the development and implementation of a Records Management Program that will integrate procedures, retention schedules and best practices for the management of records in accordance with the requirements outlined by the State of Minnesota and the City Charter.


Minnesota Statutes 138.17 and 15.17 establish the authority and assign the responsibility for carrying out the records management program required by state law and create the administrative framework through which the purposes of the program are achieved. The City Charter assigns the responsibility for managing City records to the City Clerk. Relevant passages from the Statutes and the Charter are attached as an endnote to this document. [1]

Definition of Records

The City of Minneapolis utilizes the definition for records as defined in Minnesota Statute 138.17 Subdivision 1:

The term "government records" means state and local records, including all cards, correspondence, discs, maps, memoranda, microfilms, papers, photographs, recordings, reports, tapes, writings, optical disks, and other data, information, or documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, storage media or conditions of use, made or received by an officer or agency of the state and an officer or agency of a county, city, town, school district, municipal subdivision or corporation or other public authority or political entity within the state pursuant to state law or in connection with the transaction of public business by an officer or agency;

Subdivision 4 of the statute identifies what data and information is excluded from the definition as follows:

The term "recordsexcludes data and information that does not become part of an official transaction, library and museum material made or acquired and kept solely for reference or exhibit purposes, extra copies of documents kept only for convenience of reference and stock of publications and processed documents, and bonds, coupons, or other obligations or evidences of indebtedness, the destruction or other disposition of which is governed by other laws;

Public Access to Records

Access to records containing government data is generally governed by Minnesota Statute 13.03 and 138.17. The Responsible Authority for the City of Minneapolis along with the City Attorney’s Office is responsible for clarification and interpretation of Chapter 13 (Data Practices Act). To insure compliance with the act if a request for data is made, the Responsible Authority along with the City Attorney’s Office will provide information, clarification and assistance to departments when requested by the departments.

Subdivision 1 of 13.03 generally defines what public data is as follows:

Public data. All government data collected, created, received, maintained or disseminated by a state agency, political subdivision, or statewide system shall be public unless classified by statute, or temporary classification pursuant to section 13.06, or federal law, as nonpublic or protected nonpublic, or with respect to data on individuals, as private or confidential. The responsible authority in every state agency, political subdivision and statewide system shall keep records containing government data in such an arrangement and condition as to make them easily accessible for convenient use. Photographic, photostatic, microphotographic, or microfilmed records shall be considered as accessible for convenient use regardless of the size of such records.

Data Practices/Public Access Procedure

Designation of City Records Manager by the City Clerk and Records Coordinators by Department Heads

Based on State of Minnesota Statute and the City Charter, the City Clerk is responsible for City records. The City Clerk can designate the responsibility for the development and maintenance of the City Records Management Program to the City Records Manager.

Each department head is responsible for the records that their departments create and receive. Each department head may designate a staff member (larger departments may require several – as in the case of Public Works) to serve as the Records Coordinator to implement the Records Management Program in the department.

Creation and Use of the City Retention Schedule

The City Records Manager prepares the City General Retention Schedule (records common to most departments) for publication and use. Department Heads and Records Coordinators provide assistance (expertise and/or funding) to the City Records Manager during the development of Department Operational Retention Schedules for the records that are unique to departments.

  • Departments are responsible for monitoring and assisting with the update/revisions of the Department Operational Retention Schedule to ensure that the schedule accurately reflects the records created and maintained by the department.
  • Before records can be destroyed (by a department or the City Records Center), the records must exist on an approved Retention Schedule.
  • The Retention Schedules and all changes to the schedules are reviewed and approved by the City Attorney (or designated attorney representative). The City Attorney and the State Records Disposition Panel must approve the schedule prior to the schedule being used by departments.
  • Following approval by the State of Minnesota, the City Records Manager publishes the schedule and/or revisions for city use.

Development and Use of Records Management Policy and Procedures

The policy and procedure documents are designed to enable the City Clerk to fulfill the responsibilities outlined by statute and charter. The policy defines the program and assigns the responsibilities and authorities to administer the program. The procedures outline the roles, responsibilities and actions required to implement the program.

Governance and Responsibilities

City Clerk – As the principle agent responsible for records of the City, the City Clerk:

  • Develops, sponsors and provides management oversight of the Records Management Program for citywide implementation.
  • Secures funding to implement and support the on-going functions of the program.
  • Designates a City Records Manager to administer the Records Management Program.
  • Chairs the Records Management Committee and selects representatives to serve on the Committee.
  • Provides guidance and oversight in the development of an effective communications strategy to promote the Program.
  • Encourages ongoing adherence to the program by all City employees including managers, department heads and the Council.

City Records Manager – In addition to other duties assigned in this policy, the City Records Manager:

  • Identifies, researches and documents record retention schedules, disposition policies, procedures and best practices.
  • Develops procedures to ensure permanent preservation of historically valuable records in accordance with Minnesota Historical Society guidelines.
  • Provides records management advice and assistance to City departments through the development and implementation of the policy, procedures and training programs.
  • Co-chairs the Records Management Committee with the City Clerk.
  • Monitors records retention schedules and administrative rules issued by the State of Minnesota and provides documentation as required according to statute/rules.
  • Designs and implements a communications program to disseminate information concerning State laws, administrative rules and relevant major litigation that may affect the management of City records.
  • Fosters a good working relationship with the State Disposition Panel and the Department of Administration.

Records Management Committee – As a member of the committee, each member:

  • Reviews the retention schedules for the series that are in their primary responsibility (i.e. the HR Director is ultimately responsible for personnel records and the Director of Finance is ultimately responsible for accounts payable records.
  • Provides input and support to the schedules by providing signature approval.
  • Provides positive support for the program and the use of the retention schedules by staff and others.
  • Helps review and clarify records management policy and provides insight and expertise to address records issues.

Department Heads – As the person in charge of department records at the City, each department head:

  • Cooperates with the Records Manager in carrying out the policy and procedures established for the City of Minneapolis.
  • Assigns department records coordinator(s) to represent the department in activities related to the management of records.
  • Ensures that transactions of city business are properly documented (including services, programs and duties for which the department head and his/her staff are responsible).
  • Reviews and signs destruction authorization forms for records that have met the retention requirements.
  • Ensures that department staff follows the retention, storage and destruction requirements outlined in the Records Management Procedures.

Records Coordinators- As the individual designated to coordinate records activities for a department, the Records Coordinator:

  • Assists the Records Manager in the review and migration of department schedules and associated records to the City General Retention Schedule
  • Conducts or supervises the creation of record inventories for the department for the creation of Department Operational Retention Schedules that capture records that are unique to the department.
  • Develop and implement filing systems to manage large volumes or groupings of records.
  • Assists in the review of records that are identified for destruction maintained in the department and the Records Center.
  • Creates and maintains the documentation necessary to implement the program.
  • Coordinates and implements the policy and procedures of the Records Management Program for the department.
  • Disseminates information to department staff concerning the program.

Development of Department Operational and Specific Series Schedules

The City Records Manager is responsible for the creation and maintenance of the City General Retention Schedule. The City Records Manager assists Department Heads and Records Coordinators in their efforts to inventory department operational records that do not appear on the City General Retention Schedule. The City Records Manager creates Department Operational Schedules and submits the schedules to the Department Head for approval.

Regardless of whether a record is included on the City General Retention Schedule or on a Department Operational Schedule, the record and the recommended retention will be reviewed and approved by the City Attorney. Following his/her review and approval, the schedules and/or updates are forwarded to the State Records Disposition Panel. Following approval, the schedules are available for City use.

In special circumstances, the City Records Manager may choose to temporarily adopt portions of the State of Minnesota Retention Schedule. If a temporary adoption is necessary, the City Records Manager will file a Notification of Adoption form and submit the form for approval by the State Records Disposition Panel.

Destruction of Records under the Retention Schedule

Following the approval of the City of Minneapolis General Retention Schedule and supplemental Department Operational Schedules, the schedules should be implemented by departments. Use of the schedules is governed by the procedures developed to administer the Records Management Program.

Minnesota law requires that a record of all destruction must be created and forwarded to the State of Minnesota Department of Administration. Prior to the destruction of a record under an approved retention schedule, a signed authorization must be obtained from a Department Head or other designated individual. If the destruction occurs in the department, the department is responsible for documenting its destruction. When records that are scheduled for destruction reside in the City Records Center, a Destruction Authorization Form is submitted to the Department Head for review and approval. The City Records Manager completes the Certificate of Destruction Form to document the destruction of records maintained in the City Records Center. Departments complete the Department Destruction Form to document the destruction of records that occur within the department. The detailed steps to destroy records are in the procedures entitled Destruction of Records Maintained in Departments and Destruction of Records Maintained in the City Records Center.

Destruction of Unscheduled Records

Destruction of City government records can occur only after the records have been scheduled and approved on the City retention schedules and after they have met their retention requirements.

Under special circumstances, a record not yet listed on an approved retention schedule can be destroyed. The City Records Manager must submit a PR1 form (Authority to Destroy Records) to the State Records Disposition Panel and receive approval from all members of the panel before unscheduled records can be destroyed.

Suspension of Records Destruction – Pending Litigation, Government Investigation or Audit

The Department Head and the Records Coordinator must review all records prior to destruction to ensure that pending actions (litigation, government investigation or audit) will not be affected by the destruction. If a department has been notified that litigation, government investigation or audit is imminent or pending all destruction must be suspended for records involved with the action. Departments should contact their City Attorney representative to clarify the specific records involved in an action to ensure that all record production and discovery obligations can be met.

In cases where records affected by pending litigation, government investigation or audit are eligible for destruction and are maintained in the City Records Center, the notice of the pending action must be indicated on the Destruction Authorization Form by the Department Head. The notice on the form will provide sufficient notice to the City Records Management staff to suspend the destruction of the records affected by the action.

1 Minnesota Statute 138.17  governs the disposition of virtually all records of state and local governmental units in Minnesota. Subdivision 1 of 138.17 specifically outlines the members and duties of the Records Disposition Panel, and discusses destruction, preservation, and reproduction of records and provides that prima facie evidence. Subdivision 7 of 138.17 defines a records management program. The Commissioner off Administration is responsible for the development and governance of the state records management program, and explains the duty of local government to develop retention schedules for review and approval by the Records Disposition Panel.

Minnesota Statute 15.17  Subdivision 1 identifies what records must be maintained by local governments, the form of the record and the acceptance of reproductions as records. Subdivision 2 identifies the Chief Administrative Officer as the person responsible for the preservation and care of agencies government records.

Responsibility for records. The chief administrative officer of each public agency shall be responsible for the preservation and care of the agency’s government records, which shall include written or printed books, papers, letters, contracts, documents, maps, plans, computer-based data, and other records made or received pursuant to law or in connection with the transaction of public business. It shall be the duty of each agency, and of its chief administrative officer, to carefully protect and preserve government records from deterioration, mutilation, loss, or destruction. Records or record books may be repaired, renovated, or rebound when necessary to preserve them properly.

Chapter 3, Section 5 of the Minneapolis City Charter  specifically assigns the responsibility for managing the Cities’ records to the City Clerk.

The clerk shall keep the corporate seal and all the paper and records of the City, and keep a record of the proceedings of the City Council, at whose meetings it shall be the Clerk’s duty to attend.”

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