Secretary Kemp Outlines Archives Access Hours – Less Than Mandated By Georgia Law – UPDATED

Before reading the following press release from Secretary of State Brian Kemp, please familiarize yourself with the Official Code of Georgia, Section 45-13-50:

“…division of Archives and History shall make accessible to the general public for not less than the hours of 9:30am to 3:30pm on every Saturday…”

The Secretary’s plan says the Archives will be closed week 3 and 4, and available by appointment weeks 1 and 2.  Earlier, the SOS when asked about the legal requirement replied with the following:

“The remaining Archives staff will accept appointments based on their workload. Any week in which appointments are granted during the week, there will be appointments granted on Saturday which will comply with O.C.G.A 45-13-50”

UPDATED:  A response from the Secretary of State indicates: “Georgia law states that the Archives shall make such records and facilities available on Saturdays “as are ordinarily available to the public during regular office hours on weekdays.  O.C.G.A. 45-15-50.  The Secretary of State’s plan keeps in line with Georgia law by providing the same level of access to the Archives’ records and facility on Saturdays that is also provided during regular weekdays. ”

Given that the legislature went to such detail to specify that the records would be available on Saturdays to the general public and during which hours, it remains to be seen how they will accept this interpretation.  Plan on getting to the Secretary of State’s January budget hearing early if you want a seat.  And bring your own popcorn.

His press release:

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp Releases Plan on Archives Access

 

The Georgia Archives currently averages 74 patrons per week (296/month).  The average visitor spends 3 hours at the Archives.

The following plan will allow 78 (36 2-hour; 42 2.5-hour) appointments per month in the Open Documents Research Area (ODRA), 120 (2 hour) appointments per month in Microfilm Reference, and 90 (2 hour) appointments per month in Open Reference.  This would allow 288 visitors, which is 97% of the visitors that Archives accommodates now, but they will be limited to 2 or 2.5 hours.  If the staff finds that they are able to handle more researchers at a time, the number of appointments will be increased.   ODRA users will have to provide staff with specific requests when they make the appointment so they can have records pulled and waiting on them when they arrive.

To make appointments, individuals can contact Christopher M. Davidson at [email protected] or 678.364.3714.

Beginning November 1, 2012 and continuing in the following months, the schedule is as follows:

Week 1:

Original Documents

                    Thursday                            Friday                                  Saturday

 

8:00-10:00                           7 appointments                7 appointments                7 appointments

 

10:00-10:30                         pull records                        pull records                        pull records

 

10:30-1:00                           7 appointments                7 appointments                7 appointments

 

1:00-1:30                              Lunch                                 Lunch                                    Lunch

 

1:30-2:00                              pull records                        pull records                        pull records

 

2:00-4:30                              7 appointments                7 appointments                7 appointments

 

Week 2:

Microfilm

                     Thursday                              Friday                                    Saturday

8:00-10:00                           10 appointments              10 appointments              10 appointments

 

10:00-12:00                         10 appointments              10 appointments              10 appointments

 

12:00-12:30                         Lunch                                    Lunch                                    Lunch

 

12:30-2:30                           10 appointments              10 appointments              10 appointments

 

2:30-4:30                              10 appointments              10 appointments              10 appointments

 

Open Reference

                    Thursday                             Friday                                    Saturday

8:00-10:00                          10 appointments              10 appointments              10 appointments

 

10:00-12:00                         5 appointments (ODRA)   5 appointments (ODRA)   5 appointments (ODRA)

 

12:00-12:30                         Lunch                                    Lunch                                    Lunch

 

12:30-2:30                           10 appointments              10 appointments              10 appointments

 

2:30-4:30                             10 appointments              10 appointments              10 appointments

 

 

Week 3:

Closed

 

Week 4:

Closed

 

“I will continue to work with the Governor, General Assembly and other interested parties to restore funding and access to the Archives,” said Kemp.

Brian Kemp has been Secretary of State since January, 2010. Among the office’s wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives.

5 comments

  1. Scott65 says:

    Here’s a good example of why a blanket 3% across the board cut is just about as stupid as stupid gets…Gets great headlines but when it comes time the stupidity is astounding

  2. “The Division of Archives and History shall make accessible to the general public for not less than the hours of 9:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. on every Saturday, except legal holidays and such days as may be required to relocate the division and the records therein, such records and facilities as are ordinarily available to the public during regular office hours on weekdays.”

    It appears that an inadvertent loophole is being used here. I would assume the intention of the original law was to make the same materials available on Saturday that were available during the week and not as a way of getting away from certain Saturdays by not making the records open during certain weeks.

    • From the update, it looks like Sec. Kemp has confirmed it. I disagree with the interpretation, though. There is no indication, though, that the weekdays mentioned are the immediate past weekdays before the weekend. I think it could be construed that if you are closed on a Saturday but are open the following weekdays (Week 4 Saturday closure – Week 1 open), then you should have been open the Saturday before.

  3. Ldsed says:

    This looks like a sly way to change the original hours of being open all day on Saturdays to cover Kemp’s actions by changing the hours (by appointment only). So does the official code mean the hours of operation now or the new operating hours? Looks like a political move to me. Looks like we are all in agreement here.

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