Sussex County’s new Records Management Center to hold open house Oct. 5

by Dave on September 27, 2010

Sussex County is opening up its attic for the public to see.

The County government on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, will host an open house and tour of its new Records Management Center, located at the former Sussex County Emergency Operations Center, 21303 Airport Road, east of Georgetown. The open house and tour will be held from noon until 2 p.m., and the public is invited to join County leaders for the event.

County officials have spent the past three years sorting engineering, zoning and financial records, among others, as well as preparing the necessary space to house those documents. The work has been part of a concerted modernization effort to clean up record keeping, one that will see records stored in a central location and not scattered among various departments.

“Most people simply forget about the records and how their preservation and management is an important function on government,” said C. Daniel Parsons, the County’s historic preservation planner and records manager. “It is such a large, laborious project that takes time and space, and Sussex County has recognized what an important task this is by creating a records retention program and facility to house these very important documents.”

In August 2007, and with the help of County staff and the Delaware Public Archives, Mr. Parsons began the tall order of sorting through scores of boxes containing thousands of records, many of them packed in a storage room at the County’s West Complex. By the following summer, the County had allocated approximately $160,000 to convert the 5,000-square-foot former EOC into a dedicated records management center, complete with a revamped air system, a fire suppression system and adequate shelving to store 4,000 cubic feet of records.

Under Delaware law, all counties and municipalities must retain their records for varying lengths of time, depending on the type of record, before being transferred to the Public Archives or slated for destruction. Mr. Parsons said the new center will ensure that all County documents are properly retained and managed in a secure, centralized location.

The County, though, isn’t limiting its new records management program to just physical storage. Work is already underway to digitize years of documents, which will enable County offices – and, thereby, the public they serve – easier access to records. “The goal is to eventually eliminate paper over time and increase the overall efficiency of government,” Mr. Parsons said.

County Administrator David B. Baker said the project goes beyond simply improving efficiency.

“Ultimately, this is about being accountable to the public and to future generations, in particular,” Mr. Baker said. “These records are a historic account of the people’s business, and we want to keep them safe and accessible for years to come. We believe this center and our records management program will do just that.”

release from Sussex County Government

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