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Retaining records

Posted: March 15, 2012 4:05 p.m.
Updated: March 16, 2012 5:00 a.m.

It’s good to see that Gov. Nikki Haley, who hasn’t won a reputation for openness in her administration, has agreed to a plan which will result in better retention of records in the governor’s office. Haley and the S. C. Department of Archives and History agreed to the plan, which is partly a result of The State newspaper’s discovery a few months ago that e-mails and other records were being routinely destroyed.

This is the first records policy change in four decades, going back to the early 1970s, when Camden’s John West was the state’s chief executive. That, of course, was in an era when letters were still composed on manual typewriters, with carbon-paper copies, and e-mail was not even a glint in technocrats’ eyes.

The policy is 12 pages long and lays down guidelines for how e-mails and other records are to be kept. It will be of great benefit to historians, reporters and records-keepers of all kinds. It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s a major step forward and it’s fitting that the new policy was announced during Sunshine Week, which annually spotlights openness in government and the state’s Freedom of Information Act.


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