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Fresno officials destroy 16 years of records.

Fresno, Calif., officials, acting with the city council's approval, destroyed 16 years of tape recordings of council meetings from 1992 through 2007, The Fresno Bee reported.

The Bee said state and local law allows cities to periodically reduce the amount of dated documents from its archives, but at least one city council member has said destroying the tapes was a mistake and the resolution that allows such destruction should be revised.

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In September 2008, the Fresno City Council unanimously approved a revised records retention schedule that allows the city to destroy several reports and documents after one or two years. In keeping with these guidelines, the city clerk's office recently requested permission from the city attorney's office to destroy eight boxes of council meeting tapes. The request was approved and the tapes were destroyed.

The city clerk's office now has cassette tapes only of council meetings in 2008 and 2009, as tapes from the 1970s through the early 2000s were destroyed a few years ago. According to The Bee, Fresno's website has video and audio recordings of council meetings dating back to August 2006, and city hall has the past five years of council meetings on CD.

City officials note that the council-approved minutes, not the tapes, are the official record of council meetings. However, City Clerk Rebecca Klisch told The Bee the tapes have legal value to city hall and the public. For example, she said, her staff occasionally uses the tapes to provide verbatim transcripts to the city attorney's office.

There was no legal requirement to destroy the tapes, and space was not an issue, according to The Bee.

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Title Annotation:GOVERNMENT RECORDS
Publication:Information Management Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Jan 1, 2010
Words:273
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