Sale of Government Records
Involved in the purchase or sale of government records? It's illegal!
Government records are paid for by public funds and belong to the citizens of the communities that create them. It is illegal for government records to be sold or alienated from public custody unless done in accordance with established, legal retention procedures.
The law of Georgia is clear:
State and Court Records (O.C.G.A. 50-18-102)
(a)All records created or received in the performance of duty and paid for by public funds are deemed to be public property and shall constitute a record of public acts.
Local Government Records (O.C.G.A. 50-18-99)
(a)As used in this Code section, the term:
What if the government threw the records out?
Governments in Georgia are required to follow strict procedures when disposing of records. State law requires that the destruction of records shall occur only through the operation of an approved retention schedule (O.C.G.A. 50-18-102(b)). The disposition of records that have been discarded legally will be well documented and easily identified from the retention schedule. Any undocumented claim of disposition is suspect.
What do I do if I find a government document being offered for sale?
Contact the State Archives division of Records and Information Management at 678-364-3790. The division will investigate. If the record has been stolen, the archives (through the Secretary of State) has the authority to initiate actions through the Attorney General to stop its sale or recover it (O.C.G.A. 45-11-1).
For more information
The Council of State Archivists (CoSA) has set up a website devoted to replevin and online auction issues. Visit www.statearchivists.org/issues/publ-rec-auctions.htm for more information.
5800 Jonesboro Road