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Historical Records Commission Minutes May 13, 2021

Members present:
Steven Lovejoy (Chair)
Eric Stanley (Vice-Chair)
Gretchen Emmert
John Murphey
Margaret Purser

Members excused:

Associate Members present:
Amanda King, Secretary
Ann Hammond, Director, Sonoma County Library
Deva Marie Proto, County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters
Deborah (Debbie) Lindley, Information Systems Records & Information Manager, Records Center
Deborah Doyle, Library Commissioner (LC) Liaison to the HRC

Guests present:
Sabrina Condon, Business Systems Analyst, Records Center
Jaime Anderson, Collections Services Division Manager, Sonoma County Library
Sherry Bevens, Division Director, Information Systems Department

  1. Call to order 4:00 pm
  2. Introduction of Guests
  3. Presentation on Retention Schedule Approval Processes
    1. Questions from Steven Lovejoy:
      1. If there are revisions, does it come back to HRC?
        • Debbie Lindley: Small revisions no, but larger revisions yes.  Minor adjustments such as updating from 5Y to 6Y, or a correction to a citation, would not return to the HRC review.
      2. If a department decides to digitize their records, example Coroner, what is the fate of the originals? Is it up to the department whether or not they’re destroyed? My concern for a media neutral designation, it’s up to the department to decide what format it is in, but archivists and historians want to see the originals.
        • Debbie: It’s challenging since there are many scenarios.  Expectation is that anything that requires long-term preservation.  The Coroner records is a unique situation and my understanding is that those are at the Archives.  A lot of records going forward, you’re saying originals, is assuming that they are coming in as paper but a lot are being created in an electronic format.
        • Steve: That’s my concern, about whether or not original paper copies are being destroyed at the whim of the department.
        • Debbie: Records gifted to the Archives should be returned to the Archives. This may be part of a larger discussion.  In regards to the records retention schedule, Archival, must be preserved in some format.
    2. Questions from Gretchen Emmert:
      1. You talked about citations, sometimes there are no citations on the retention schedule.  How do you keep track of what citation goes with each record?
        • Debbie: Not every record has a citation and it goes back to the business practices.  We try to document any citations validated by the Department, Records Center, and County Counsel
    3. Questions from Eric Stanley:
      1. We’ve had conversations about what designates as Archival.  According to the retention schedule a record may be marked Archival, but it will never come to the Archives.  Eric also asked about adding Archival designations to all permanent records.  Is that possible or should it not be done?
        • Debbie: I don’t think it’s a good practice to designate Archival based solely on permanent retention or retention timeframe.  You have to look at the value of the records, at the purpose of the records and see if they meet your criteria for adding Archival designation.  That’s my personal opinion.  It will continue to be dialogue as the schedules come to you.  There are things Departments have advised me that are not able to go to the Archives due to regulatory exclusions.
    4. Questions from John Murphey:
      1. You’ve mentioned that some documents need to be permanently secured, which sounded like an offsite facility, what were you getting at?
        • Debbie: I don’t recall that reference.  Were you talking about the “vital” records that might have offsite preservation such as prior microfilm?
        • Gretchen: I think it was in regards to “permanently secured in a trusted system.”
  4. Review Records Retention Schedule
    1. Minor Adjustment to the Sheriff’s Office Retention Schedule:
      1. Debbie: “AE” is “at event” or “at expiration”.  Sheriff’s Office has asked that the AE be dropped from the schedule for clarity for their staff.  There are also changes to retention for items for personnel.  We are bringing this to the HRC for review and approval of those changes. 
        • Motion by Eric Stanley
        • Second by Gretchen Emmert
        • Approved
    2. Deborah Lindley will be leaving to a new department and this is her last meeting as the Records Manager.
    1. April 8, 2021 Minutes approved
      1. Motion by John Murphey
      2. Second by Margaret Purser
      3. Approved
      1. Budget Discussion
        1. $4,396 and does not include the cost of the business cards yet
      2. Continuing Business
        1. HRC Commissioners Report
          1. Steven's report:
            • No separate update
          2. Eric's report:
            • Reached out to Sonoma County Historical Society and the Archives, call for a stakeholders meeting to involve the Museum and the Library to discuss the Archives. 
            • Started looking at some grants that may be helpful.  We are past most of the deadline dates.
            • Worked on awards material and will report on later
          3. Margaret's report:
            • Received updated pamphlet from John and there is information that needs to be rewritten and include information on where to go online
            • Put in a plug for the County Archives at the presentation mentioned last month regarding Highway 101 maps.
          4. Gretchen's report:
            • Back in the office and catching up on a year's worth of filing.
          5. John's report:
            • Highway maps, in my experience, are still retained in DOTs in other states because they have a vital purpose.  Sometimes there is litigation or underlying land and zoning issues that those documents can inform what was happening at that time. 
            • Reached out to Cotati, went back to Sonoma Valley Historical Society they had responded to me that their chief concern was the Archives and wanted to do a letter.  I encouraged them to do that.
            • Fielded a call about an Architect’s Collection and what could be done with it, may go to UC Berkeley because there are no facilities up here that can handle it.
        2. Library Commissioner Report
          1. Update by Deborah Doyle:
            • Library staff has finished the inventory
            • Continuing to have discussions with the County of Sonoma and we believe that many of the records are the County.  Library continues to oversee them but it does not want to monitor County records for the long run.
            • We are aware fire season has already started and we want it out of Los Guilicos as quickly as you do.
            • US Senator Dianne Feinstein has not signed on to the legislation at the national level. Please contact her to encourage her to please support the Build America’s Library Act.  She is usually a very strong library supporter.
            • President Biden’s Infrastructure bill does not mention libraries
            • Democratic Senators in California came up with their own infrastructure plan and there is a lot of money in it for libraries that includes broadband.  The State library did a survey of museums, libraries, and historical associations about their collections and the majority of historical records are not safe, they are underfunded, are not boxed properly. This is a larger issue, there are people at the national level looking at it.  It’s better to take care and store safely historical archives and records before they are destroyed.
          2. Update by Jaime Anderson:
            • I have not been participating in the inventory first hand.
            • Staff did complete the inventory project on April 30, spent 6 weeks, 4 full time staff 5 days a week with part time staff assisting at the end.
            • Came away with a lot of notes and a large spreadsheet that needs to be sifted through in greater detail.
            • We have a better idea of what is there and what is not there
            • We need to do reconciliation with our own records
            • Staff is working on a summary report about the main takeaways and findings and will be going to the June Library Commission meeting.
            • Library is working on getting quotes from different options of moving companies to see what it would cost to move the Archives to another location.
          3. Questions by Steve Lovejoy:
            • What does the library see as the timetable now the inventory is completed?  There was some discussion about a professional/outside inventory done, which would cost more money to do.
              1. Deborah: we are not going to do that in Los Guilicos.  We have what we need to move forward.  From a conditions perspective we want to be mindful.  It is in danger, this fire season will be a bad one.  While staff is working on estimated cost, we are working with the County to find a place.
            • There was some discussion about items moving to the Annex, is that still up in the air depending on the results of the inventory?
              1. Deborah: We think the library records are not above 20% of the records at the Archives.
            • Has the $140,000 that the county has promised been realized?
              1. Deborah: we have not gotten a final decision on that
            • We are using Library funds to do things at the Archives?
              1. Deborah: so far.  And we are going into Budget season.  We are doing a reimagining, not a standard budget.  The pandemic has changed things, so we want to build that in.
        3. Archives Activity Report
          1. See above
          2. Archives Task Force Report
            1. Deborah: We are encouraging the County to call one of those meetings.
            2. Steve: is there anything the HRC can do to help that process?
            3. Deborah: We will let you know if we need your assistance.
          3. Strategic Planning
            1. Will get back to this once the new commissioners are up to speed in a couple months.
            2. Secretary to send Strategic Work Plan to HRC members
          4. Collections & Archives Recognition Awards
            1. Update from Eric Stanley:
              • John and Eric formed the subcommittee and went with a simple plan to contact Historical Societies and Museums for nominations
              • Thinking by next meeting we would have a list of 5+ nominees to discuss and hope that other members of the HRC would bring a couple potential nominees to that meeting
              • Distributed the guidelines and simple nomination form
              • Secretary to add Nominations to the next agenda 
            2. Steve: how about the Department of Transportation employee that saved the 101?
              • Margaret: That was a team of two, can you give a joint award?
            3. Steve: Historical Society of Santa Rosa is still planning on meeting at the Flamingo on Sunday, October 24, 2021.  They won't know how many people can actually attend until we get the County guidelines.  They have not received nominations for any of the other awards they are giving out.
          5. Outreach
            1. Update on the 2004 HRC/Landmarks Commission Pamphlet, “ Researching the History of Your Sonoma County Building”:
              • Update from John Murphey:
                1. Margaret and I are splitting tasks.  We will bring a revision to the HRC for their input.  I would like to get the Landmarks Commission involved later on.
              • Secretary to update pamphlet title on the Agenda
            2. Other California County Historical Records Commission
              • Update from Steven Lovejoy:
                1. We have a pretty active HRC, but what about the other 57 counties in California?
                2. Would like to form a Subcommittee so we can provide a report to the Board of Supervisors so we can give them some ideas how the records are preserved, Archives, how it is funded, etc.
                  1. Gretchen: I would like to help with that.
                3. Looking at the County Resolution [64618] that established the HRC, I reviewed what the current statues [ Government Code 26490] said.  Another statute [ Government Code 12232] references California Historical Records Advisory Board, which is to advice, encourage, and coordinate the activities of the county historical records commissions.  It also states that the designee of each county historical records commission may attend an annual meeting, at state expense, to receive advice in the preservation of local government archives and public library collections of historical materials.
                4. Did some research of the California Historical Records Advisory Board and the last meeting minutes they posted were from 2012, so they may not be too active.  Steve will reach out to the members that are listed as being on the Board.
                5. Deborah: the California Library Association is meeting this week and I went to a meeting for a group that may form, but they're thinking of an interest group/committee related to local historic records.  Will keep this group informed about what they're doing.
        4. New Business
          1. HRC Records Retention
            1. Secretary to provide items on the retention schedule to Steven to save for his own use and storage.
        5. Public Comment
          1. Sonoma County Heritage Network Meeting, July 10, 2021, 10am to 12pm, on ZOOM. 
          2. Library Commission meeting, June 7, 2021, 6pm, on ZOOM   
          3. Museum of Sonoma County Exhibits:
            1. 35: Thirty-Five Artists for Thirty-Five Years, beginning December 22, 2020-October 31, 2021: https://museumsc.org/35-exhibition/
            2. Go Big or Go Home: Taking Measure of Sonoma County's Past, May 1, 2021-Ongoing:  https://museumsc.org/go-big-or-go-home/
            3. The Portal Service, May 1, 2021-Ongoing:  https://museumsc.org/the-portal-service/
        6. Meeting adjourned at 5:30PM

        Next Meeting - June 10, 2021 - WebEx, 4:00PM

        Contact Information

        Secretary of the Commission
        Historical Records Commission
        County of Sonoma
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        8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
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        Mailing Address

        Sonoma County Historical Records Commission

        585 Fiscal Drive, Rm 103

        Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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