Records Retention

Douglas County (“the County”) was incorporated in 1861 under the Colorado Territorial Session Laws.  The County is a Statutory County government with a three-member Board of County Commissioners.  In addition to the three County Commissioners, the County government has the following elected officials:  Assessor, Clerk and Recorder, Treasurer, Coroner, Sheriff, and Surveyor.  The County Administrator and County Attorney report to the Board of County Commissioners and the following departments report to the County Administrator:  Community Development, Finance, Human Resources, Human Services, Information Technology, and Public Works.  To view the Retention Schedule click here.

Because the County is a political subdivision of the State of Colorado, the Colorado State Archives must approve the County’s Records Retention Schedule before any records can be destroyed under the authority of the schedule.

What is Records Management?

The functions of records management are to:

  • Provide access to records as efficiently as possible for any staff member needing information.
  • Comply with industry “best practice” and the laws and regulations concerning the retention of records.
  • Preserve the County’s history.

What is a Record?

Records are documentary information created or received by County employees or officials.  They provide a source of information or evidence of the County’s activities and official business transactions.  They may take the form of:

  • Information recorded on paper such as forms, reports, and correspondence;
  • Information recorded on magnetic or electronic media, such as hard drives, tapes and disks; and
  • Information recorded on maps, drawings, photographs, microfilm, and other formats.

County records are created and retained for a wide range of administrative, legal, fiscal or historical purposes.

What is a Records Retention Schedule?

A Records Retention Schedule is at the heart of an effective records and information program.  The Records Retention Schedule is a listing that sets forth the organization’s policy regarding how long records must be kept to meet both legal and operational requirements.  In cases where there are conflicting legal requirements, the longest retention period specified in the law is followed.  In addition, records may be listed for a longer retention period than the legal retention requirement if there are longer operational requirements.

The Records Retention Schedule is media neutral, meaning that it applies to all records, regardless of form or physical location.  The document does not treat the issue of confidentiality.

“Best practice” is that records should be retained and destroyed in the normal course of business (on a scheduled, routine basis) in accordance with the adopted Records Retention Schedule to improve efficiency, decrease the growing volume of paper and electronic records, minimize the organization’s current and future costs for managing records and reduce the risk of retaining records too long or not long enough.

Litigation Holds

Records that may be pertinent to any anticipated, pending or ongoing litigation, claim, complaint procedure or other legal proceeding may not be destroyed even if the record is eligible for destruction under the Records Retention Schedule and even if the record should have been previously destroyed.  Consult with the County Attorney if there is any question regarding the destruction of records involving possible legal actions.

Future Revisions

County records may not be destroyed until a retention period is established and approved by the County and the State.  Therefore, this Records Retention Schedule should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect the addition of new records, the removal of records that are no longer created, the renaming of records titles or changes in custodians, or changes in legal requirements.

The County may administratively revise (without approval of the State Archives) the information regarding record copy custodian.  However, both the County and the Colorado State Archives must approve any future revisions to records retention periods or the names of records titles, additions to the Records Retention Schedule or deletions from the schedule.