From: Robert Freeman
Date: 11/24/2004 9:16:36 AM
I have received your inquiry in which asked whether town board minutes can be "kept on disc in the vault rather than on paper."
In this regard, section 57.29 of the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law provides that:
"Any local officer may reproduce any record in his custody by microphotography or other means that accurately and completely reproduces all the information in the record. Such official may then dispose of the original record even though it not met the prescribed minimum legal retention period, provided that the process for reproduction and the provisions made for preserving and examining the copy meet requirements established by the commissioner of education. Such copy shall be deemed to be an original record for all purposes, including introduction as evidence in proceedings before all courts and administrative agencies."
From my perspective, the foregoing enables you do as you suggested, but only if it is clear that the minutes will be preserved and subject to reproduction. There may be potential problems, however. The disc may not last as long as paper, and perhaps just as significant, the technology may change and become obsolete. I recommend that you might discuss the matter with a representative of the State Archives.
I hope that I have been of assistance.
Robert J. Freeman
NYS Committee on Open Government
41 State Street
Albany, NY 12231
(518) 474-2518 - Phone
(518) 474-1927 - Fax
Website - www.dos.ny.gov/coog/coogwww.html