Chapter 72: Department of Records and Information Services

Section 3000.

Section 3000. Department; commissioner.

There shall be a department of records and information services which shall include, but not be limited to, municipal archives, a municipal reference and research center and municipal records management division. The head of the department shall be the commissioner, who shall be appointed by the mayor.

Section 3001.

Section 3001. Deputy.

The commissioner may appoint one deputy.

Section 3002.

Section 3002. Technical assistants.

The commissioner:

   1. shall be the chief archivist of the city and shall advise the mayor, borough presidents and council on those matters concerning the preservation of the city’s historical documentation;

   2. shall act as the chief reference and research librarian for the mayor, borough presidents and council and shall ensure that all significant research material pertaining to the operations of the city as well as other municipalities shall be preserved and readily available for use;

   3. shall act as the chief public records officer for the mayor, borough presidents and council and shall, except as otherwise provided by law, establish standards for the proper records management in any agency or government instrumentality funded in whole or in part from local tax levy monies, and

   4. shall have the power to exercise or delegate any of the functions and duties vested in such commissioner by law, subject to the provisions of subdivision five of this section.

   5. In addition to the above duties, the commissioner shall ensure the city’s custody and control of city records as follows:

      a. Pursuant to an approved records disposition schedule as set forth in section eleven hundred thirty-three of this charter, the commissioner shall ensure that the records of any city officer or agency that are of historical, research, cultural or other important value shall be delivered directly to the department’s municipal archives. Upon delivery, the department shall begin to review such records and publish a survey of such records with appropriate specificity, and, to the extent practicable, the contents of such records. Where the commissioner has certified in writing as to its necessity, under extraordinary circumstances, such records may be transferred to an archival establishment to be organized and prepared for archival preservation, provided that such establishment meets the specific requirements specified in paragraph b of this subdivision.

      b. If the commissioner decides that it is necessary to enter into an agreement or contract with another archival establishment outside the department, to organize and prepare records for archival preservation, it may not be with a private entity as defined by this chapter, and may not be with any entity outside the city. The commissioner shall include with the agreement or contract a plan for strictly monitoring the status and progress of the archiving operations. The commissioner shall devise and publish such plan, which shall include at least the following: (i) a list of the tasks to be conducted and a timetable for the completion of each such task; (ii) a description of the resources, staffing and training dedicated by the archival establishment to carrying out such tasks; (iii) allowances for direct supervision by department archivists; and (iv) an agreement by the archival establishment to issue, at a minimum, quarterly reports of its activities to the commissioner. The commissioner shall also include with such agreement and publish a schedule, where applicable, for the municipal archives to send original records to such archival establishment and to receive such records when processing is completed. To the extent practicable, such schedule shall take into account that original records should be sent in a limited and controlled manner and that no new such original records should be sent until receipt of any previously sent under such schedule. Any such agreement, contract, plan and schedule must be approved by the law department for compliance with this subdivision. The commissioner will at all times remain responsible for the proper handling and archiving of records, notwithstanding any agreement with an archival establishment outside the department.

      c. No agreement provided for in subdivision five of this section shall be entered into during the term of office of any elected official of the city with regard to whose records such agreement applies.

      d. Nothing in this subdivision shall prevent officers or members of such officer’s administration from donating money to the department’s municipal archives or other archival establishment so long as such officers or members are not involved in the supervision, control or management of the archival processing pertaining to their respective administrations.

      e. Nothing in this subdivision should be construed to limit access by the public to city records. The department shall be responsible for granting access to records in accordance with applicable provisions of law. Additionally, agencies of the city shall have free access to such records as needed.

Section 3004.

Section 3004. Department; duties.

  1. The department shall operate a municipal archives, the head of which shall be a professional archivist. The archives shall perform the following functions:

   a. develop and promulgate standards, procedures and techniques with regard to archives management;

   b. make continuing surveys of existing records to determine the most suitable methods to be used for the creating, maintaining, storing and servicing of archival material;

   c. preserve and receive all city records of historical, research, cultural or other important value;

   d. appraise, accession, classify, arrange and make available for reference all records which come into the possession of the archives and

   e. establish and maintain an archives depository for the storage, conservation, processing and servicing of records.

  1. The department shall operate a municipal reference and research center, the head of which shall be a professional librarian. The center shall perform the following functions:

   a. provide information and assistance to the mayor, the board of estimate, members of committees thereof and administrative officers of the city in connection with problems of municipal administration and proposed legislation;

   b. provide legislative reference assistance to the council, its members and committees and maintain, in a legislative reference section, such records and papers as the council and city clerk may remand to its custody;

   c. maintain facilities which shall be open to the public wherein, subject to such reasonable regulation as may be prescribed, all books, reports, documents and other materials shall be available for public inspection;

   d. ensure that at least one copy of each report, document, study or publication of the city or any of its administrations, departments, boards or other agencies shall be available at the center at all times;

   e. collect, compile and maintain data and information pertaining to the operation of the city as well as other municipalities, governmental bodies and public authorities and arrange for the exchange, sale, purchase and loan of information materials from and with legislative and research services, libraries and institutions in other municipalities, governmental bodies and public authorities; and

   f. ensure that each report, document, study or publication that is electronically transmitted to the department of records and information services pursuant to section 1133 of the charter is made available to the public on or through the website of the department, or its successor’s website, within ten business days of publication, issuance, release or transmittal to the council or mayor.

  1. The department shall:

   a. provide for the distribution of publications of the city, where such authority is not vested in another city agency, and issue at regular intervals, no less than quarterly, a bulletin describing its facilities and resources;

   b. institute actions in replevin to recover any historical and/or other documents properly owned by, or originating from, the city of New York;

   c. report annually by the thirtieth day of September to the mayor and city council on the powers and duties herein mentioned including, but not limited to, the cost of savings effectuated by the department during the preceding fiscal year. This report shall further include an evaluation of compliance with the requirements of subdivision a of section 1133 of the charter.

  1. The department shall operate a municipal records management division, the head of which shall be a professional records manager. The center* shall perform the following functions:

   a. develop and promulgate standards, procedures and techniques in relation to records management;

   b. make continuing surveys of operations relating to records and recommend improvements in current records management practices, including the use of space, equipment and materials employed in the creation, maintenance, storage and servicing of records;

   c. establish standards for the preparation of schedules for the disposition of records, providing for the retention of records and archives of continuing value, and for the prompt and orderly disposal of records no longer possessing sufficient administrative, legal or fiscal value to warrant their further retention; and

   d. establish, maintain and operate facilities for the storage, processing and servicing of records for all city agencies pending their deposit in the municipal archives or their disposition in any manner as may be authorized by law.

Section 3005.

Section 3005. Archival review board.

There shall be in the department an archival review board which shall consist of five members; two of whom shall be appointed by the speaker, two of whom shall be appointed by the mayor, and one of whom shall be the commissioner, who shall serve ex officio as chairperson of the board. At least one such appointment shall be a professional archivist and at least one other such appointment shall be a professional historian. The members of the commission, other than the chair, shall be appointed within 30 days of the effective date of this section and shall be entitled to reasonable expenses. All appointed members of the commission shall be residents of the city. Members shall serve for terms of four years from such date of appointment. Vacancies in appointed membership of the board shall be filled by appointment by whosoever was responsible for such original appointment. The board shall meet once every 90 days or upon the request of any of its members. Any member of such board shall have complete access, during work hours, to inspect and review any appraisal, organization, processing or archiving of city records in the custody of an entity with which an agreement has been entered into for the purposes specified in subdivision five of section 3003. Such board may request and receive, from the department, assistance and data as may be necessary for the proper execution of its powers and duties. Such board shall render annually to the mayor a report reviewing the archival processing of any city papers during the year for which the report has been written.

Section 3006.

Section 3006. Destruction of other materials.

The commissioner shall analyze the needs of each city agency, except the law department, with respect to the establishment and maintenance of any library or research facility therein, and make such recommendations as may be appropriate in the circumstances.

Section 3008.

Section 3008. Rules and regulations.

The commissioner shall promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this chapter, except that rules and regulations relating to the disposal of records pursuant to section eleven hundred thirty-three shall be issued by the commissioner after consultation with the corporation counsel and the comptroller.

Section 3009.

Section 3009. Archives, reference and research advisory board.

There shall be in the department an archives, reference and research advisory board which shall consist of fifteen members who shall be appointed by the mayor and which shall consult with the commissioner with respect to the functions referred to in subdivisions one and two* of section three thousand four of this chapter to advise such commissioner in matters at his or her request and render annually to the mayor a report regarding the development of municipal archives, reference and research services in the government and administration of the city.

Section 3010.

Section 3010. Municipal archives reference and research fund.

  1. There is hereby established a municipal archives reference and research fund, which shall be credited with all sums appropriated therefor, donations made thereto, and proceeds from the disposition of personal property which is in the custody of the department and which the commissioner has determined is not a record which must be retained pursuant to law and is not necessary for archival, reference, or research purposes. Interest accruing on principal from all aforementioned sources also shall be credited to the fund.
  2. The municipal archives reference and research fund established by this section shall be used, subject to the approval of the director of management and budget, by the department for purposes related to its library and archival research programs including, but not limited to, purchasing and conserving books and other records, financing lecture series and commissioning studies and articles.

Section 3011.

Section 3011. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

   1. “Archives” means those official records which have been determined by the department to have sufficient historical or other value to warrant their continued preservation by the city;

   2. “Records” means any documents, books, papers, photographs, sound recordings, machine readable materials or any other materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official city business. Library and museum materials made or acquired and preserved solely for reference or exhibition purposes, extra copies of documents preserved only for convenience of reference and stocks of publications are not included within the definition of records as used in this chapter;

   3. “Records management” means the planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting and other managerial activities involved in records creation, records maintenance and use and records disposition, including but not limited to, the management of correspondence, forms, directives, reports, machine readable records, microfilms information retrieval, files, mail, vital records, equipment and supplies, office copiers, word processing and source data automation techniques, records preservation, records disposal and records centers or other storage facilities;

   4. “Records management practices” means any system, procedure or technique followed with respect to effective records creation, records maintenance and use and records disposition;

   5. “Records disposition” means:

      a. The removal by a city agency, in accordance with approved records retention schedules, of records no longer necessary for the conduct of business by such agency through removal methods which may include:

         (1) the disposal of temporary records by destruction or donation;

         (2) the transfer of records to the department, and

         (3) the transfer to the department of records determined to have historical or other sufficient value to warrant continued preservation and

      b. the transfer of records from one city agency to any other city agency;

   6. “Records creation” means any process involved in producing any recorded information necessary to conduct the business of a city agency;

   7. “Records management division” means an establishment maintained by the department primarily for the storage, servicing, security and processing of records which must be preserved for varying periods of time and need not be retained in office equipment or space and

   8. “Servicing” means making information in records available to any city agency for official use or to the public.

   9. “Private entity” means a for-profit or not-for-profit corporation, or non-governmental organization, but shall not include the City and State Universities of New York, public libraries, including the New York Public Library, and any college or university in the city.