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.
Beginning November 1, 2012 and continuing in the following months, the schedule is as follows:
10:00-10:30 pull records pull records pull records
10:00-12:00 5 appointments (ODRA) 5 appointments (ODRA) 5 appointments (ODRA)
“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.