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Records Preservation and Destruction

Reference Number: MTAS-431
Reviewed Date: 06/24/2022

Preservation and destruction of municipal public records are governed by T.C.A. §§ 10-7-701 and 702. They are defined as "all documents, papers, records, books of account, and minutes of the governing body of any municipal corporation within said county or of any office or department of such municipal corporation within the definition of ‘permanent records,’ ‘essential records,’ and/or ‘records of archival value.’ " T.C.A. § 10-7-701. T.C.A. § 10-7-702 authorizes the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to publish retention schedules of records for municipal officials.

Electronic Records
T.C.A. §§ 47-10-101, et seq., allow cities to conduct business by electronic means and to determine the extent to which they will send, accept, and rely on electronic records and electronic signatures.

T.C.A. § 47-10-112 provides that electronic records may be retained and have the same status as original records. Electronic records are subject to open records and retention requirements just like other records.

Electronic Mail
A municipality with electronic mail must adopt a written policy addressing any monitoring of e-mail. The policy must include a statement that any form of e-mail may be a public record open to inspection. T.C.A. § 10-7-512.

Disposal of Records
T.C.A. § 10-7-702 allows any municipal governing body to authorize by resolution the disposal, including destruction, of permanent paper records that have been copied to another medium, such as microfilm or CD-ROM, in accordance with T.C.A. § 10-7-121. Other records may be destroyed when the retention period prescribed by the retention schedule used by the municipality has expired.