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County Commission to Oversee Records Purge
May 2, 2007 - Elected officials and public agencies in Henry County - including schools, libraries and municipal governments - have a little more than a week to complete and submit forms identifying public records they no longer wish to maintain.
Under state law, public records may only be destroyed in strict accordance with record retention schedules adopted by each county's commission of public records. Before any records may be destroyed, the county commission must first approve their disposal.
The Henry County Commission of Public Records is scheduled to meet Wednesday, May 23, to consider requests of elected officials and public agencies in the county for the disposition, transfer and destruction of public records. Henry County Clerk Pat French, who is a member of the commission and serves as its secretary, has asked elected officials and public agencies in the county to submit by Friday, May 11, completed forms - themselves, public records - identifying the records they want approval to destroy.
"The purpose of the Commission is to provide each office or government public agency an orderly procedure for the disposal or destruction of records," French said in a notice sent to elected officials and public agencies. "It is illegal to destroy records without going through the Commission." State statute makes it a Class D felony for a public official or other person to recklessly, knowingly or intentionally destroy or damage any public record without the approval of the county's commission of public records. Class D felonies are punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
In addition to French, other members of the Henry County Commission include Henry Circuit Court Judge Mary Willis; Phil Estridge, president of the Board of Henry County Commissioners; County Auditor Linda Ratcliff; County Recorder Terri Pope; John Newby, superintendent of New Castle Community School Corp.; and New Castle Clerk-Treasurer Janice Lavarnway. State law requires that the commission meet at least once a year.
The Henry County Commission of Public Records' May 23 meeting will start at 10 a.m. and be held in the Commissioner's Room on the second floor of the Henry County Courthouse, 101 S. Main St., New Castle. The meeting is open to the public.
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