Disposal of Municipal Records

Prior to disposing of eligible records an inventory of those records to be destroyed should be made.  The Local Government Records Committee has issued the standard below for implementing the retention guidelines:

Implementation of the General Schedules

These general records retention schedules are issued by the Department of Archives and History, Local Government Records Office, as found in  Section 39‑5‑9, Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated, as amended.  The Local Government Records Committee approved these schedules on the dates indicated.  Additions and revisions to the schedules may be issued in the future by the Local Government Records Office and will be distributed accordingly.

The retention period listed in the general schedules for each records series is the minimum time necessary to retain the records.  There may be conditions or factors in a local government that require retention of a particular record series for a longer period than is required by the general records schedule, and, in such cases, the local governments are urged to continue retention of the records series as needed.  In no case, however, may records series be destroyed sooner than the scheduled retention period.

Records involved in investigations, audits, or litigation must be maintained until the settlement of the case and subsequent appeals regardless of disposition instructions found in a records retention schedule.

No local government records dating prior to 1920 shall be destroyed without special schedule directions issued by the Committee.  Destruction of records dating prior to 1940 but after 1919 may be undertaken only with the written approval of the Director of the Department of Archives and History.  The Committee may modify this date according to the historical value of a particular record series by placing a special statement in the retention period of such series with an approved records control schedule.

Upon expiration of the minimum retention period, local officials are authorized to dispose of the records if there are no extenuating circumstances.  Disposition should be done in a manner consistent with the nature of the records (e.g. records containing confidential information should be disposed in a manner that will insure confidentiality). There may be instances when a county, upon the expiration of the retention period, may choose to transfer a records series to a public library or a local historical organization as an alternative to destruction.  Prior to such a transfer, the county must contact the Local Government Records Office.

According to Mississippi law, records may not be destroyed except in accordance with an approved retention schedule.  Therefore, records series not listed in these schedules are not eligible for disposal until an appropriate records retention schedule has been approved by the Local Government Records Committee. 

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