I agreeto Idea Mandate Chief Records Officer for each agency
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Mandate Chief Records Officer for each agency

Like what was done for FOIA, issue a directive for each agency requiring them to appoint a Chief Records Officer who is a peer of the CIO. This must be a full time position. This will help significantly to ensure that records management issues are considered when deploying new electronic systems.

This position should require an individual who has the following skills:

Records Management

Information Technology

Legal (E-Discovery)

Financial (Budgeting and Funding)

Submitted by mmandel 2 years ago

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(latest 20 votes)

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  1. Status Changed from Pending Approval to Active
    2 years ago
  2. The idea was posted
    2 years ago

Comments (13)

  1. 1) Too many C-level officials results in more bureaucracy, less efficiency and higher expenses

    2) Appointment of CRO might result in lesser status of the present head of the agency’s RM function.

    3) It’s problematic to find a person with all the listed skills and knowledge.

    2 years ago
    1 Agreed
    1 Disagreed
  2. mmandel Idea Submitter

    When this has been done (see GAO and others) it has worked quite effectively. It is actually a good promotion opportunity for senior records staff with the right qualifications.

    As to finding the right person, there are plenty of CRMs with the right background who would be great candidates. It is very important to get the right skill set, including knowledge of technology, legal issues, budgeting, and of course best practices in RIM.

    2 years ago
    1 Agreed
    1 Disagreed
    1. Don't limit the candidate pool to CRMs... there are many seasoned professionals with skills that far exceed CRMs qualified to serve in this role. Consider individuals who have worked in a wide variety of industries, both public and private, who have broader experience base and may be able to infuse fresh ideas to assist in improving practices beyond "We've always done it this way"

      2 years ago
      4 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
  3. While I think this is a small part of a larger governance/stewardship strategy...I have voted for this. I don't think it is a matter if we should recruit for these areas. We NEED to! Also I suspect that we will continue to see consolidation and flattening of management structures within the Federal Government.

    2 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  4. I believe mandating the creation/addition of a dedicated CRO, with the necessary skill set, knowledge and experience, at each Federal agency, will elevate Records Management, from an all too often, ancillary duty; and will foster a higher level of interest, commitment and much needed funding towards the management of each agency’s Federal records.

    2 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
    1. Most Agencies HAVE an "ARO" now, what added benefit would there be to a "CRO"? The problem isn't having someone with a title, it's providing SUPPORT FOR the person in the current role! Repairing the existing set of practices in Federal RM is going to be a costly effort, but before anything changes, the MINDSET at the highest levels has to change, and it requires support and continued funding to sell the changes through the ranks.

      2 years ago
      4 Agreed
      1 Disagreed
  5. I agree that appointing a Chief Records Officer for each entity is necessary. However, based on my previous experience that all information management and information technology is best integrated under one 'C' executive, then I would suggest that the CRO should report to the CIO or equivalent.

    2 years ago
    0 Agreed
    2 Disagreed
    1. That's the problem with a "C"RO as opposed to an "A"RO. C-level positions are all direct reports to the Secretary or Under Secretary of an Agency.

      To keep things under the CIO, consideration should be giving to retaining the current ARO position, but giving it more TEETH and greater authority to complement the responsibilities it has. Until there is ongoing support from the Secretaries in all Agencies to change the manner in which ALL Agency employees perform RM functions and they are held accountable by having this function appear within EVERY EMPLOYEES performance appraisal, nothing will improve.

      The problem isn't titles or reporting relationships, it's staff, improving practices, training, and funding.

      2 years ago
      4 Agreed
      1 Disagreed
  6. mmandel Idea Submitter

    If the CRO reports to the CIO (who is seldom a RIM expert) other priorities will almost always take precedence. The peer approach is a proven best practice.

    2 years ago
    2 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  7. What about making this position a NARA matrixed position within the Agency?

    2 years ago
    0 Agreed
    2 Disagreed
    1. NARA presently has responsibility for either performing assessments or evaluating self-assessments performed by Agencies. The fact that we are where we are now is due in a large part to ineffective efforts on the behalf of NARA. The last thing we'd need is matrixed staff who can't do the work now taking responsibility for it.

      2 years ago
      1 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
  8. The problem is much greater than the title of who is responsible for the work being performed in each Agency. RM Practices are out of step with technology and meeting business objectives, and YES, I DID mean to say business.

    Federal Agencies need to start managing records similar to how they are managed in business- a critical eye needs to be lent to the General Retention Schedules (GRS) because as they exist currently, they are almost impossible to apply to electronic records, ESPECIALLY email.

    36CFR, Subchapter B was just reorganized, but it was NOT re-written. Hard fact is even Part 1236, which is dedicated to "Electronic Records Management" is written applying the paper paradigm and practices to how records are to be managed. It's outdated, cumbersome, and needs to start from scratch.

    And NARA needs to face the facts- More and more Federal Records are being generated and managed by Contractors on behalf of Federal Agencies, and with shrinking Contract funding, the existing requirements are viewed as "unfunded mandates" and are NOT being complied with.

    NARA and Agencies need to partner with Contractors and come to agreements about WHAT needs to be done instead of dictating requirements about HOW to do it, unless they are willing to provide the funds to accommodate the dictated practices.

    2 years ago
    2 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
    1. It’s interesting to watch the behavior of the humans when they don’t know what to do but definitely are not going to invest in the improvements. In some countries they appoint C-level executives; in other places they establish Committees and Councils. Such approaches rarely work but they are useful for imitating the activity.

      2 years ago
      0 Agreed
      0 Disagreed