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Government records must be preserved according to state law. In Minnesota, local governments may destroy government records only pursuant to:

  • An “Application for Authority to Dispose of Records” submitted to and approved by the State Records Disposition Panel; or
  • A records retention schedule adopted by the governing board and approved by the State Records Disposition Panel.

If the governmental entity adopts one of these general records retention schedules and that schedule is subsequently updated by the State Records Disposition Panel, the governmental entity does not have to adopt the new version of the general schedule. Instead, the State Records Disposition Panel will assume the governmental entity will use the most recent version of the general schedule.

Links to the general records retention schedules for Minnesota governmental entities, including counties, cities, townships, and school districts, are found on the Minnesota Historical Society’s website at:

http://www.mnhs.org/preserve/records/retentionsched.html.

In addition, the Minnesota Historical Society and State Archives website offers guidelines, information leaflets and forms to assist governmental entities in managing their paper and electronic records. For example, the site provides information leaflets for records of watershed districts, soil and water conservation districts, law enforcement, county auditors, public libraries, public health care facilities, heritage preservation commissions, towns, cities, and school districts. The information can be found on the Minnesota Historical Society website at:

http://www.mnhs.org/preserve/records/recser.html.


Date this Avoiding Pitfall was most recently published: 03/08/2013.

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