Governor David A. Paterson today issued an Executive Order on the development and implementation of a records management policy for the Executive Chamber, including an archives retention schedule. The Governor signed the Executive Order following his veto of S.6846/A.9928.
"Today's Executive Order will develop a protocol and policies for the preservation of documents and electronic records from the Executive Chamber," Governor Paterson said. "We must continue with our efforts to increase transparency and accountability to provide all New Yorkers with information about actions taken by their elected officials."
The Executive Order requires that a retention schedule be promulgated and made public. The schedule categorizes documents prepared in the Executive Chamber and sets forth a period for their retention and ultimate disposition. All records of historic and governmental significance will be preserved, published and made publicly accessible. A member of the Executive Chamber Counsel's Office is designated as the Records Retention Officer, responsible for coordinating Executive Chamber record retention activities. The Counsel to the Governor will negotiate an agreement for storage of the information, and the circumstances on which it would be made available to the public. Executive Chamber records created during the Paterson Administration will be donated to Cornell University.
This Executive Order ensures that important historical documentation related to activities of the Executive Chamber is maintained for study and review by future governments, historians, and everyday New Yorkers. The Paterson Administration has been the most transparent administration in New York history largely due to the voluminous material made available daily on its website.
The Governor vetoed S.6846/A.9928, also known as the Archives Bill. In his veto message, the Governor acknowledged the sponsors' efforts, but noted that the bill did not provide adequate protection for valued, centuries old governmental privileges that are indispensible to ensure unfettered, candid advice. The Governor also said the bill would have imposed significant and costly burdens on the Executive Chamber and would tip the balance of power between the Legislature and Executive by allowing the former immediate access to executive records, without imposing any comparable transparency requirements upon itself.