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Tighter record retention policies come in light of criminal investigation

It is always easier to implement changes when they are done at your own pace and not mandated from above. This allows companies to spend money when they can and ensure all employees understand the changes and are on board. Unfortunately, that is not always the way a change can be deployed and when it is forced by law, there is added pressure.

Recently, Athens County in Ohio has been under state criminal investigation because of alleged illegal records destruction. While this is being investigated, officials from the county are making sure that nothing like it ever happens again by tightening county requirements to actually exceed the current state level requirements. If it passes, a number of offices will be subject to new retention schedules and paperwork processing requirements prior to destruction or disposal.

According to the Athens News, much of this stems from an incident in May when a large volume of prosecutor’s records that had been stored in an off-site facility were ordered to be disposed of in a landfill. This is where the dispute begins, as Sheriff Pat Kelly denies signing the paperwork for that to happen.

However, there is more than just that incident at play here. County Commissioner and Records Commission chair Lenny Eliason told the news source that the state passed a law in 2011 that required all county agencies to review their retention schedules yearly. Kelly’s twice submitted retention schedule has yet to be approved, and further discussions will include the state archivist and the prosecutor’s office for guidance on creating at an appropriate and legally-defensible retention schedule.

A proper record retention schedule is a key part of a document management solution and is as critical to a business as an insurance policy is. A retention schedule may also be complex and hard to administer as it has many layers arising from government, state and county laws as well as industry regulations. By partnering with a professional records management company, any company can be sure all physical files are managed with a proper amount of care and benefit from assistance that helps ensure retention schedules are being carefully created and administered properly.