It has been a year of high political brinksmanship in Washington, with Congress and the White House having narrowly avoided two fiscal crises, one in January over income taxes rates and another in October over the government’s borrowing authority. What remains to be done before the House and Senate adjourn on Dec. 20 is a budget agreement for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1; it has eluded negotiators thus far. Failure to get an agreement on the broad outlines of the budget before the end of December will leave little time for policymakers to enact the individual spending and revenue bills necessary to implement the agreement and head off another government shutdown on Jan. 15, 2014.
Another government shutdown would wreak havoc with already-delayed efforts to meet important benchmarks for implementing the president’s Managing Government Records Directive. The directive includes a provision that requires the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to develop an occupation series for government records managers in an effort to “elevate records management roles, responsibilities, and skill sets for agency records officers and other records professionals.” OPM is soon expected to release for public comment a draft Position Classification Flysheet, and ARMA International members will be encouraged to provide feedback.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) also has been working on several activities related to electronic records management automation. One of the goals of the president’s directive is for NARA to produce by Dec. 31 a comprehensive plan to describe suitable approaches for the automated management of e-mail, social media, and other types of digital record content, including advanced search techniques. The plan is to detail expected outcomes and outline potential associated risks. The development of that plan has also fallen behind schedule. It is anticipated that NARA will have a draft of the plan available for public comment in late January 2014. ARMA International and its members will be strongly encouraged to provide comments.
ARMA International continues to monitor the implementation of the president’s directive and other efforts to reform and modernize federal records management policies and practices. Our goal is to promote sound information governance in all organizations, public and private, by promoting adherence to the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles®.