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Council votes to delay destruction of records

ENCINITAS — The City Council voted unanimously to delay the destruction of documents Jan. 18.
Despite the routine nature of the scheduled document destruction of meeting agendas, candidate statements and other similar records, the council decided to review its policy at a later time.

A few public speakers urged the retention of documents, especially those pertaining to the ongoing financial audit of ERGA (Encinitas Ranch Golf Authority).

Donna Westbrook, an Encinitas resident told the council that since ERGA was undergoing a forensic audit, none of the records should be destroyed. “History is our written word,” she said. “Basically we’re destroying everything for the electronic age. Keep those hard copies.”

Lisa Shaffer, a council candidate said the correspondence from ERGA should be retained. “I see no compelling reasons why we should destroy these records, and many reasons to keep them,” she said.

Councilman Mark Muir asked about the best management practices in records retention. Assistant City Clerk Claudia Bingham said the majority of the records are permanent but some are scheduled for destruction according to the city’s policy and in an effort to manage storage space.

Councilman James Bond questioned if the ERGA documents could be exempted from destruction until the forensic audit was complete.

City Manager Gus Vina said there was no urgency in the destruction of records. He said the council was free to keep whatever records it wanted, including the ERGA documents. “That errs on the side of absolute clarity,” Vina said.

Deputy Mayor Kristin Gaspar said she was not familiar with the records retention schedule and would like to revisit the city’s policy. The council reviews the policy on a regular basis, with the last revision in May 2011.

Councilwoman Teresa Barth said a discussion on what items are kept permanently would be useful. Resolutions, minutes and capital agreements are among the items that are considered permanent records, according to city officials. The minimum retention of documents is two years in keeping with state guidelines.

Barth motioned that the resolution be brought back as well as the current retention policy for future discussion. Muir said he also wanted to know the cost for records storage.