Elections and Government Services Administrative Rules of Montana Business Services Notary and Certification Records and Information Management

Local Government Records Management

The Local Government Records Committee (LGRC), has established records retention schedules for local government units.  If you have questions or comments about the schedules, procedures or want to request a change to a retention schedule, please contact them:

Local Government Records Committee
Local Government Services Bureau
P.O. Box 200547
Helena MT 59620-0547
SOSLocalGovtRecCom@mt.gov

About retention periods

Retention periods assigned to records are minimums. Local governments are not required to destroy or otherwise dispose of records at the end of the minimum time frame outlined in a retention schedule.  If a retention period in a record schedule refers to a fiscal year, the records retention clock begins the month the local government unit receives the final fiscal year audit report relating to those records.

Disposing of Records

Local government units may dispose of records that have met their retention requirements provided they are:

  • not subject to a legal or regulatory hold
  • the disposal is carried out in accordance with federal/state/local laws and a retention schedule approved by the LGRC, and/or
  • a court order

Local government units must request approval from the Local Government Record Disposal Subcommittee prior to disposing official records, unless there is a specific note on the retention schedule exempting the record series from this requirement.  Records must first be approved at the local level by the governing body and then submitted to the disposal subcommittee.  To demonstrate compliance with legal and retention requirements, local government units should document the disposal of public records.  Please use the following form:

Special requirements for disposing records that are over 10 years old

State law 2-6-1205, MCA requires that public records that are more than ten (10) years old must first be offered on a central registry for 60 days.  To comply with this statute, please submit a disposal request for all records that are over 10 years old.  The Secretary of State’s office will post the disposal request on the central registry.  This requirement does not apply to confidential or private records because they may not be released.

Confidential records

The local government unit bears responsibility to determine if records are confidential and should note which records are confidential on each request for disposal. If you have questions, please see the Montana Constitution, Article II, Section 9 and Section 10, Title II statutes at 2-17-553, MCA, and consult legal counsel.

Legal and regulatory records holds

Local government units should not dispose of records subject to litigation, a legal proceeding, an audit and/or a formal investigation, even if the records have met their retention requirements. 

Electronic records and recordkeeping systems

The Local Government Records Committee has adopted the Association of Records Managers & Administrators (ARMA) International's Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles ® for local governments using electronic systems to store long-term records, ©2014 ARMA International, www.arma.org.  Local governments should use them as the framework to design, implement, operate, and decommission the systems and to manage the records and data within the systems.

Microfilm/Microfiche

If a local government unit uses archival-quality microfilm or microfiche, as the official storage medium, the unit should carefully review the microfilm’s readability before disposing the original paper records to ensure readability.

Microfilm or microfiche may be considered as a long-term or permanent, low-cost, storage medium for public records, provided that the filming process, development, and storage of the film master meets certain national standards. To verify whether the agency’s film meets these standards, contact the Secretary of State Records and Information Management Division by email or by phone at (406) 444-9000.

Local Government Retention Schedules 

Revision Date

 

1

General (i.e. correspondence)

November 2011

 

7

School District

May 2013

 

8

Municipal

May 2013

County

 

2

Clerk and Recorder

May 2014

 

3

Elections

May 2013

 

4

Treasurer

June 2012

 

5

Accounting and Financial

May 2014

 

6

Motor-vehicle

1999

 

9

Conservation District

May 2012

 

11

Appraisal and Assessment

May 2012

 

13

Coroner

October 2005

 

14

Sheriff

November 2011

 

14A

Sheriff Local Detention Center/Jail

1999

 

17

9-1-1 PSAP

October 2007

 

18

Weed Department

October 2009

 

19

County School Superintendents

October 2009

 

20

County Museums

October 2009

 

21

County Planning

November 2013

 

23

County Sanitation

November 2013

 

24

Human Resources

November 2013

Court

 

10

Courts of Limited Jurisdiction

November 2013

 

12

Clerk of District Court

April 2010

 

16

County Attorney

April 2007

Insurance Authority

 

15

Insurance Authority

May 2012

 

15A

Insurance Authority - Claims

May 2013