Records Conservation Board

The following provisions are not the official versions of the Massachusetts General Laws. Reasonable efforts have been undertaken to assure the validity of the information provided at the time of publishing however, do not depend on this information without first consulting an official edition of the law.

Powers and Duties

G. L. c. 30, § 42

The state librarian, the attorney general, the state comptroller, the commissioner of administration, the supervisor of public records and the chief of the archives division in the department of the state secretary, hereinafter called the archivist, or persons designated by them, shall act as a board, to be known as the records conservation board, of which board the archivist shall be secretary.

The board, after consultation with the executive head of any agency, executive office, department, board, commission, bureau, division or authority of the commonwealth or of any authority established by the general court to serve a public purpose or a person designated by such executive head may, either by its own motion or on the request of said executive head, sell or destroy, from time to time, all records in accordance with disposal schedules which shall have been submitted to said board and either approved or modified by said board or the board may authorize such sale or destruction. Until such action shall have been taken, all such records shall remain the property, as the case may be, of the commonwealth or an authority including an authority established by the general court to serve a public purpose.

The board shall have power to require all departments of the commonwealth to report to it what series of records they hold, to set standards for the management and preservation of such records, and to establish schedules for the destruction, in whole, or in part, and transfer to the archives or another appropriate division within the office of the state secretary, in whole or in part, or records no longer needed for current business.

Nothing in this section shall affect judicial or legislative records, lessen the existing powers of the executive office for administration and finance, or compel any agency, executive office, department, board, commission, bureau, division or authority of the commonwealth or of any authority established by the general court to serve a public purpose to surrender records it deems of current use.

Records may be kept in the archives or in another appropriate division within the office of the state secretary, under reasonable restrictions as to access, for a reasonable length of time; provided, that such restrictions are in writing and accepted by the records conservation board at a meeting at which the attorney general, or his designee, is present. At least thirty days before selling or destroying any records so kept in the archives or another appropriate division within the office of the state secretary, the board may publish in a daily newspaper in Boston a notice of its intention to do so, containing a brief description of the articles to be sold or destroyed, and it shall give such other and further notice as it deems advisable to historical societies or persons interested in the matter.

The board may, before selling or destroying any particular records, books, vouchers or documents, give a public hearing to all persons interested, and ten days' notice of such hearing shall be given in a daily newspaper published in Boston.

The proceeds, if any, of a sale by the board of any records shall be paid to the state treasurer or to the treasurer of an authority, including an authority established by the general court to serve a public purpose, whose records were the subject of the sale.

As used in this section, the words "records" shall mean all books, papers, maps, photographs, recorded tapes, financial statements, statistical tabulations, or other documentary materials or data, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by any officer or employee of any agency, executive office, department, board, commission, bureau, division or authority of the commonwealth or of any authority established by the general court to serve a public purpose.

Any agency, executive office, department, board, commission, bureau, division or authority of the commonwealth or of any authority established by the general court to serve a public purpose in doubt as to whether certain materials are records shall make inquiry thereof in writing to the records conservation board which shall determine the question.