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Local Government Record Managers
The Maine State Archives, through the Archives Advisory Board, establishes rules for the disposition of local government records. It is against the law to sell or give away government records in Maine. The rules are adopted pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. Comments and suggestions for changes or additions may be directed to Tammy Marks, Director of Records Management Services at 207-287-5799.
Local Government Retention Schedules - revised April 2013
General schedules for local governments identify records often crossing agency boundaries. Other schedules, including those for county officials, law enforcement, town officials, schools, fire departments, jails, are listed by specific headings.
Destroying Government Records
Municipalities no longer need to submit an annual list of records destroyed. It is advisable, though, to keep such a list on file to document their destruction according to schedule.
The Board handles most requests for permission to destroy records by adding to the Rules for Disposition. A truly unique, discrete batch of records may be given one-time permission to destroy. A record series may be added to the schedule, or retention periods changed for records already listed.
The Application for Approval as an Alternative Repository for Local Government Records begins the process to authorize a historical society or library to legally hold town or county records. (See the related Model Agreement.) Currently, these are the approved Alternative Repositories.
Selling Government Records
It is illegal to sell Government Records. While private records are fair game on the open market, government records are not.
Periodically, the Archives becomes aware of government records (usually town records) which are for sale by dealers or private individuals. We have generally received excellent cooperation when we point out that all state and local (county, city, town, plantation) government records are the property of those governments and may not be sold or alienated.
5 MRSA 95-A, Protection and Recovery of Public Records governs, as the title suggests, the recovery of public records in Maine. A 2003 amendment clarifies that "A person may not sell or transfer a [public] record unless specifically authorized by law. A person who violates this subsection commits a Class D crime." (This does not apply to copies of public records.) Additionally, upon notice, records believed to be government records may not be sold, or given away until a final determination of their status is determined.
Examples of this include the following:
If you have any questions about the law or related policies, or if you believe that a government record is being offered for sale, please feel free to contact us.
Despite our efforts to be accurate, these pages may contain errors. We present this website to you with a good-faith representation that the information it contains is generally reliable. Information on this site should not be relied upon for legal purposes. For specific information or verification, contact Tammy Marks at 287-5799.
Introduction to Records and Information Management for State and Local Government - Council of State Archivists (CoSA) created this narrated PowerPoint presentation as an introduction to basic records management.
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