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Document Code No.:INF 15-3-3-EP
Department/Issuing Agency: Department of Executive Services, Records and Licensing Services Division
Effective Date:May 19, 2020
Approved: /s/ Dow Constantine
Type of Action:Supersedes INF 15-3-2-EP, May 23, 2011

Signed document (PDF, 82.5KB)

  1. Purpose

    To establish King County policies for the legal and timely disposition of public records that have fulfilled the required retention period. This policy applies to all King County records stored and maintained in any format.


  2. Definitions

    "Archival Records" are records designated in a records retention schedule and/or appraised by the County Archivist as archival, having enduring historical value, and/or a research use beyond the use for which the records were created.

    "Category" describes the type of records created as a result of one or many business functions of an agency. In the Enterprise Content Management System Content Manager (CM), a category is the equivalent of a record series. Each category is associated with one or more disposition authority number(s) that give the retention period for the record series.

    "Cutoff Date" is the date or event triggering the countdown of the retention period when the records are no longer considered active. This information is stored in the "Date Closed" field in the Enterprise Content Management System, Content Manager (CM).

    "Disposition" is the action that is taken on records that have reached the end of their retention period: destruction or transfer to King County Archives.

    "Disposition Authority" is the agency designated liaison between their department, division, or section and the Archives, Records Management, and Mail Services Section (ARMMS). This individual has a strong knowledge of the agency business functions and associated records. The Disposition Authority is responsible for responding to records disposition authorization notices either approving or in specific documented cases rejecting disposition of records.

    "The Disposition Authority Number" (DAN) is the unique number assigned to each retention schedule by the Washington State Local Records Committee. This number represents approval by the state Local Records Committee and the King County Public Records Committee to destroy or transfer records to the King County Archives after a specified period of time known as the retention period.

    "Disposition Authorization Notice" is the notification sent by the Archives, Records Management, and Mail Services Section (ARMMS) to agencies to inform them that records are eligible for disposition by destruction or transfer to the King County Archives through the Content Manager consignment process. The report may include both physical and/or electronic records.

    "Electronic Record" is any record that exists on electronic media. Examples include email messages and attachments, electronic documents, digital images, and databases.

    "Enterprise Content Management System" Content Manager (CM) is the repository in which the County’s inactive electronic records are collected, organized, and categorized to facilitate their preservation, retrieval, use, and legal disposition.  It may be used to manage active electronic records from the point of their creation and to manage the inventory of inactive physical records stored at the King County Records Center.

    "King County Archives" is the repository operated by King County where archival records are collected, preserved, and made accessible to the public. The King County Archives is designated as the official repository of the County's archival records (King County Code 2.12.035). Records transferred to the King County Archives become the property of the King County Archives.

    "The King County Records Center" is the official repository of King County’s inactive physical records. It is a facility operated by King County with responsibility for the controlled storage of inactive records and the disposition of records at the end of their retention period. Records stored in the Records Center remain in the legal custody of the agency that created or received them.

    "Records Management Lead" serves as the liaison between their workgroup and the County Records Management Program. Records Management Leads play a significant role in implementing successful records management practices in their offices. They are key to ensuring that their coworkers have the information and on-site support needed to manage their records and information. The Records Management Lead is designated by the Agency Records Officer to send and retrieve records from the Records Center. This individual works closely with the agency's business records on a daily basis.

    "Records Retention Schedules" are approved by the Washington State Local Records Committee and the King County Public Records Committee. They list the common types of records created by local government agencies in records series and indicate the minimum length of time that the records are to be retained. The schedules also designate records as essential and/or archival. The information in Content Manager categories and schedules is derived from these approved records retention schedules.

    "Record Series" is a group of records together performing a specific function. A record series may consist of a single type or format or a number of different types of documents that are filed together to document a specific function. In the Enterprise Content Management System Content Manager (CM), records series is synonymous with the category.

    "Retention Period" is the length of time during which records must be maintained by an agency after the cutoff date is reached.

    "Public Records Committee (PRC)" serves as a collective body of expertise and perspective to consider public records and records management impacts associated with county business. In this role, the PRC promotes employee awareness of public records and records management responsibilities, and advises the King County Council, the King County Executive, KCIT, and others as appropriate on policy matters associated with management of public records (both electronic and paper-based), including the development and maintenance of a complete countywide records and information management solution.

    "Washington State Local Records Committee" is the committee that has the authority to review and approve the disposition of all local government records in accordance with RCW 40.14.070 and WAC 434-630  

  3. Policy

  1. Disposition of King County records shall be pursuant to a records retention schedule approved by the Washington State Local Records Committee and/or King County Public Records Committee. Agencies without agency-specific retention schedules shall refer to the King County General Schedule and/or Washington State records retention schedules for retention and disposition guidance.
  2. Disposition must be documented using the appropriate reports, logs and forms provided by the Archives, Records Management, and Mail Services Section.
  3. All King County departments, agencies, and offices must appoint a minimum of one disposition authority to approve disposition of records. The Agency Records Officer for each agency must appoint disposition authorities.
    1. The appointment of disposition authorities must be authorized in writing on file with the Records Management Program. The Agency Records Officer is responsible for appointing a disposition authority and in the absence of a disposition authority is responsible for the disposition of records.
    2. The disposition authorities are responsible for approving destruction of non-archival records that have met their retention requirements or, for approving the transfer of records designated as archival to the King County Archives.
  4. The Records Disposition Review Fund fee shall be charged to agencies that fail to respond to a disposition authorization notice within forty-five (45) days.
  5. Records involved in ongoing or pending litigation, audit, public disclosure request, or government investigation shall have their disposition suspended.
  6. An Archival Records Transmittal and Transfer Agreement or an approved Disposition Authorization Notice shall authorize the transfer of both physical and legal custody of records to the King County Archives.
  7. Environmental Consideration Dispositioned paper records shall be shredded with the fiber product recycled. Disposition processes shall be paperless and utilize digital signature approvals, helping to alleviate the environmental impact of paper production and storage.
  8. Equity and Social Justice Our disposition processes shall comply with public records laws and processes to maximize government transparency and community access to information, to decentralize knowledge to make wider community engagement possible.
  9. Protection of Privacy and Identifiable Personal Information Paper records shall be destroyed by secured on-site cross-cut shredding witnessed by King County employees to guarantee that all paper records are destroyed to National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) standards in compliance with all regulatory standards for the secure destruction of personally identifiable information. Electronic records in Content Manager, shall be deleted using a shredder utility to prevent reconstruction and overwrite data with random characters. This technology ensures that private or personally identifiable information will not be retrievable after disposition.

IV.        Implementation Plan

  1. This policy revises INF 15-3-2-EP and becomes effective for all King County offices, departments, officials, employees, boards, commissions, committees, and the members of the boards, commissions or committees, volunteers, or similar entities as well as contractors and grantees, all of whom have legal obligations under the authorities stated above on the date it is signed County Executive. Implementation shall be spearheaded by the Public Records Committee and by the executive department responsible for archives and records management functions.
  2. The Director of the Records and Licensing Services Division is responsible for communicating this policy to the Public Records Committee. Agency Records Officers are responsible for communicating this policy to the management structure within their respective agencies and other appropriate parties.

V.         Maintenance

  1. This policy shall be maintained by the executive department responsible for archives and records management functions. Changes to the policy may be proposed by the Archives, Records Management, and Mail Services Section in the Records and Licensing Services Division of the Department of Executive Services or by the Public Records Committee.
  2. This policy will automatically expire five (5) years after its effective date. A new, revised, or renewed policy will be initiated by the Records and Licensing Services Division or its successor agency prior to the expiration date.

VI.        Consequences for Noncompliance

  1. Failure to comply with this policy may result in a number of consequences, including noncompliance with record retention requirements and an inability to properly respond to public records requests. These consequences carry with them risks of fines, fees and legal action.
  2. Failure to respond to a disposition authorization notice within forty-five (45) days will result in the application of the Records Disposition Review Fund fee for the storage of physical records past retention and denial of new requests for storage.


Appendices:    Records Management Program internet website

                        Records Disposition Review Fund Fee