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The Department of Records shall have the power and its duty shall be to perform the following functions:
(a) Standards. It shall make rules embodying standards for all departments, boards, commissions or other governmental agencies of the City to govern:
(1) The types of paper, ink and other materials to be used in the creation of City records;
(2) The methods and the kinds of equipment to be used for the filing of City records and the places where files shall be kept;
(3) The care and custody of City records necessary to secure their safety and preservation at all times at such places or in such depositories as shall be designated by the Department;
(4) The occasions, the methods, and the kinds of equipment to be used for the reproduction and duplication of City records;
(5) Procedures, subject to the provisions of this charter, for the disposition and archival preservation of City records.
(b) Records for Public Inspection and Use. The Department shall collect, maintain and make available for public inspection the originals or duplicates of all City records maintained for that purpose. Where such records are necessary for the current exercise of the powers and the current performance of the duties of any office, department, board or commission or other agency, the original or a duplicate thereof may also be retained by such department, board or commission. The Department shall furnish to persons applying therefor certificates relating to City records or copies of City records upon the payment of such charges as shall fairly reimburse the City for the cost of such service and for this purpose it shall prepare and from time to time revise a schedule of fees.
(c) Forms. The Department shall approve or disapprove and from time to time review the necessity for forms used by any office, department, board or commission in the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties.
(d) Archives. The Department shall:
(1) Preserve all City records not in current use and of historical, administrative, legal, research, cultural or other important value in the archives of the City which shall be under the care and supervision of an archivist;
(2) Receive such records from any department, board or commission, or other governmental agency of the City;
(3) Collect, classify, preserve and make acceptable for reference all records which may come into its possession;
(4) Periodically examine into the condition of City records of any office, department, board or commission or other governmental agency of the City.
(e) Central Depository. The Department shall receive and keep the originals of rules and of regulations promulgated by any office, department, board or commission, and all bonds required to be filed by any officer or employee of the City, and receive, make a record of, and forward to the officer, department, board or commission concerned all documents required to be filed with the City by any person for public recordation.
Sources: See Annotation to Section 5-1100.
Purposes: 1. The Department of Records is to prescribe standards for the creation, keeping, care and custody, reproduction and duplication, and ultimately disposition and archival preservation of City records which are to be followed by all administrative and legislative agencies of the City. The benefits sought to be achieved through such rules include: A uniform method of creating City records, which, because proper materials are used to create them, will survive the passage of time. A uniform and adequate filing system that will yield records when they are needed without too much loss of time. The maintenance of records under conditions safe from hazards such as fire, water and dust, and if necessary, from destruction as a result of warfare. The saving of storage space through the disposition of records which are not necessary for current business and through the use of modern mechanical means of reproduction. The archival preservation of records. The disposition of City records is subject to Section 8-211, and the microfilming or other reproduction of records is subject to Section 8-212.
2. The public has many occasions to use various City records for personal and business reasons. At present, such records are scattered through many agencies and parts of the City and this results in great inconvenience to public users. To remedy this condition, the Department of Records is made the agency where all records either in the original form or duplicate form are to be kept and are to be available for public inspection. To permit the continuance of current work by the originating agency of any record, provision is made that it either retain a duplicate and submit the original record to the Department of Records or retain the original and submit a duplicate. The Department of Records will be the one agency of the City where copies of records may be obtained by the public, but to reimburse the City for the cost of this service, the Department is authorized to charge a fee representing such cost.
3. To control the tendency of agencies to issue unlimited governmental forms and to make certain that such forms as are issued are up to date and necessary, the Department of Records is vested with the power to approve or disapprove and review all forms used by any administrative agency of the City.
4. Prior to the present Charter, there was no provision for any City archives for the keeping and exhibiting of records reflecting the history of the City. The Charter creates such a City archives within the Department of Records.
5. The Department of Records is designated as a central depository for al originals of all rules and regulations so that there may be one place in the City where these documents may be kept, since they are so important to law enforcement and administration, and where they may be readily available for public inspection. Bonds required to be filed by any officer or employee of the City are also to be kept on file in the Department of Records.
6. The Department of Records is intended to take over ultimately all public record keeping functions of the City government. This will include the recordation functions of the officers of the Recorder of Deeds and the Register of Wills upon City-County consolidation. It will make possible in time the filing with the Department of Records of any document which must be lodged with the City by any person for public recordation purposes, and also a central agency and place in the city where all such documents will be kept for the convenience of all those who must use them.