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Records Management by Federal Agencies

(44 U.S.C. Chapter 31)

§ 3101. Records management by agency heads; general duties

§ 3102. Establishment of program of management

§ 3103. Transfer of records to records centers

§ 3104. Certifications and determinations on transferred records

§ 3105. Safeguards

§ 3106. Unlawful removal, destruction of records

§ 3107. Authority of Comptroller General


§ 3101. Records management by agency heads; general duties

The head of each Federal agency shall make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency and designed to furnish the information necessary to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and of persons directly affected by the agency’s activities.

§ 3102. Establishment of program of management

The head of each Federal agency shall establish and maintain an active, continuing program for the economical and efficient management of the records of the agency. The program, among other things, shall provide for

(1) effective controls over the creation and over the maintenance and use of records in the conduct of current business;

(2) cooperation with the Archivist in applying standards, procedures, and techniques designed to improve the management of records, promote the maintenance and security of records deemed appropriate for preservation, and facilitate the segregation and disposal of records of temporary value; and

(3) compliance with sections 2101-2117, 2501-2507, 2901-2909, and 3101-3107, of this title and the regulations issued under them.

§ 3103. Transfer of records to records centers

When the head of a Federal agency determines that such action may affect substantial economies or increased operating efficiency, the head of such agency shall provide for the transfer of records to a records center maintained and operated by the Archivist, or, when approved by the Archivist, to a center maintained and operated by the head of the Federal agency.

§ 3104. Certifications and determinations on transferred records

An official of the Government who is authorized to certify to facts on the basis of records in such official’s custody, may certify to facts on the basis of records that have been transferred by such official or such official’s predecessors to the Archivist, and may authorize the Archivist to certify to facts and to make administrative determinations on the basis of records transferred to the Archivist, notwithstanding any other law.

§ 3105. Safeguards

The head of each Federal agency shall establish safeguards against the removal or loss of records the head of such agency determines to be necessary and required by regulations of the Archivist. Safeguards shall include making it known to officials and employees of the agency--

(1) that records in the custody of the agency are not to be alienated or destroyed except in accordance with sections 3301-3314 of this title, and

(2) the penalties provided by law for the unlawful removal or destruction of records.

§ 3106. Unlawful removal, destruction of records

(a) FEDERAL AGENCY NOTIFICATION.—The head of each Federal agency shall notify the Archivist of any actual, impending, or threatened unlawful removal, defacing, alteration, corruption, deletion, erasure, or other destruction of records in the custody of the agency, and with the assistance of the Archivist shall initiate action through the Attorney General for the recovery of records the head of the Federal agency knows or has reason to believe have been unlawfully removed from that agency, or from another Federal agency whose records have been transferred to the legal custody of that Federal agency.

(b) ARCHIVIST NOTIFICATION.—In any case in which the head of the Federal agency does not initiate an action for such recovery or other redress within a reasonable period of time after being notified of any such unlawful action described in subsection (a), or is participating in, or believed to be participating in any such unlawful action, the Archivist shall request the Attorney General to initiate such an action, and shall notify the Congress when such a request has been made.

§ 3107. Authority of Comptroller General

Chapters 21, 25, 27, 29, and 31 of this title do not limit the authority of the Comptroller General of the United States with respect to prescribing accounting systems, forms, and procedures, or lessen the responsibility of collecting and disbursing officers for rendition of their accounts for settlement by the General Accounting Office.

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