Athens County Set To Hire Records Center Clerk

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Although it’s been talked about for awhile, official action was taken Tuesday toward establishing an Athens County records center.

The county commissioners approved a job description for the records center clerk, and someone could be hired as early as next week.

Records from various county offices will be moved to the Athens County Job and Family Services building on North Lancaster Street, where the records center will be established.

County Commission President Lenny Eliason said creating the center will consolidate county records at one location for safe storage, and free up space currently used for storage at other locations.

“We have records all over the place, taking up space, in a disorganized manner,” Eliason said.

He said there will be a process for getting records into the center.

“It’s not going to be a dumping ground,” Eliason said, explaining that a data base will be established showing what records are there, where they are located within the facility and their status on record retention schedules. County offices have retention schedules stating how long specific records must be retained before they can legally be destroyed.

Eliason said the center is intended to provide easier access to records.

The county’s microfilm department will be moved from the Courthouse Annex to the North Lancaster Street building, and the freed-up space at the annex will be made available to the Athens County Board of Elections, the commissioners said. In addition to storing paper copies of records, the center will also house microfilm of records.

Eliason estimated it will cost $75,000 to $100,000 a year to operate the center.

“We think we can absorb most of that cost in our current budget,” Eliason said.

Once the center is established, records from the commissioner’s office will be moved there, which Eliason said will allow problems to be worked out before the center is opened up to other county offices. The recorder’s office will next move its records there, since the microfilm office is managed by the county recorder. After that, a lottery will be used to pick which offices will be moved next, Eliason said.

Commissioner Chris Chmiel asked if officeholders will be required to put their records in the center. Eliason responded that the commissioners will not be allotting storage space any place else for records, and he noted that the other officeholders already need additional storage space.

Under the job description approved Tuesday, the records center clerk will develop policies and procedures for the records center, review the record retention schedules of the various offices and develop a records management manual and necessary forms. The clerk also will ensure that legal obligations are met for retention of records, and perform other duties.

The commissioners set the starting salary at between $14 and $17 per hour, for a 40-hour week.

They voted to post the job in-house for five days, and if an acceptable candidate is found within current staff, then the person could be hired for the center next Tuesday. If not, the job will be advertised more widely.

Eliason estimated it will be six months to a year before all stored records are moved to the center and it is fully functional.