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United States Department of the Interior
Montana State Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, Montana 59101-4669

June 24, 2011

(MT934.LC) P                                           
Instruction Memorandum No. MT-2011-054
Expires: 9/30/2012
To:             All Montana/Dakotas Employees, Contractors, and Volunteers
From:         State Director
Subject:      Removal, Maintenance, and Access to Documentary Materials
Program Area: Records Administration and Privacy Act
Purpose:  This Instruction Memorandum (IM) distributes and reinforces the Washington Office (WO) policies and procedures for removal, maintenance, and access to documentary materials. It establishes responsibilities for supervisory officials with regard to the disposition and processing of such materials within the Montana/Dakotas organization.
Policy/Action: Washington Office IM No. WO-2009-058, Removal, Maintenance, and Access to Documentary Materials, establishes the policies and procedures for departing Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees, contractors, and volunteers (hereafter referred to as employees) and their responsibilities regarding federal records.
Specifically, all Montana/Dakotas employees must ensure they do not remove or inadvertently dispose of any federal records. Federal records created and received in the course of conducting Government business must be retained by the BLM and may only be disposed of according to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) General Records Schedule as conformed to in the BLM Records Schedule.
All departing employees should contact their local records manager if they have any questions regarding the retention and disposal of federal records. Prior to departure, all employees shall obtain a copy of the Final Salary Clearance Report (BLM Form 1340-2). Departing employees shall coordinate with the program leads for the specific areas included on the report. Once the Final Salary Clearance Report is complete, it must be signed by the departing employee’s supervisor indicating that the employee is not departing with any official agency records. Supervisors should inspect or review both paper and electronic records before the employee departs.
Supervisors shall ensure all employees are made aware of the contents of this IM. Employees shall be provided with a copy of the Privacy Act Guidance for Departing Employees (Attachment 1).2
The following documents may not be removed: 
  • Federal records, including any record material deemed inactive in an open/use status;
  • No material, even though judged to be non records, should be removed if this will create such a gap in the files as to impair the completeness of the essential documentation of the associated BLM activity to which it applies;
  • Indexes or other finding aids necessary to the use of any official record;
  • The only copy of any document involved in the conduct of the affairs of the Bureau, whether or not judged to be a record, including any copy that is unique. For example, if a document contains the signature or initials of the author, reviewers, and/or concurring parties, it shall not be removed or deleted. Portions of documentary materials (whether or not determined to be records) that constitute information subject to the provisions of Title 5 U.S.C., subsection 552a of the Privacy Act, shall be retained;
  • Files maintained in electronic form, including working drafts and electronic mail, may be federal records. This also includes e-mails that show decisions of transactions for the agency. The same criteria for determining the record status of a file applies to paper based or hard copies (includes mylar, film, and other materials – see definitions below) and electronic files. Electronic records shall be placed on a disk and released to the immediate supervisor; and
  • Indian Trust data, files, and records shall be copied to a disk and provided to the immediate supervisor. 
The following documents may be removed: 
  • Personal and private papers that do not relate to or have an effect upon the conduct of BLM business;
  • Personal diaries or calendars that are private records of non public activities that do not relate to or have an effect upon the conduct of BLM business; and
  • Publicly available documents such as a brief filed in court or a newspaper article. 
Timeframe: This IM is effective immediately.
Budget Impact: Implementing this policy may have an impact on budgets and resources. Records eligible for transfer to a Federal Records Center will be shipped as required.
Background: Records made in connection with the transaction of BLM business, or pursuant to Federal law, belong to the Federal Government and their disposition is governed by the provisions of Title 36, CFR, Subchapter B, Records Management. Documentary materials not owned by the Federal Government and that do not relate to or have an effect upon the conduct of BLM business are exempt. There is a criminal penalty for unlawful removal or destruction of Federal records (18 U.S.C. 2071 and 36 CFR 1228.102).
The following definitions are provided to assist in complying with this directive:
Access is any manner of opportunity to review, handle, or otherwise process documents on a Government premise or at another agreed upon location. Information Access Centers (IACs) are open during normal business hours for the public to access information or documents of interest.
Departing Employees are anyone who leaves the BLM’s employment including contractors, volunteers, seasonals, and STEP/SCEPs. This does not include employees who transfer within the BLM.
Non-Records include Government informational materials that do not meet the statutory definition of records or that have been excluded from coverage by the definition. Some examples of non records include:  copies of documents kept only for reference, stocks of publications, and library or museum materials intended solely for reference or exhibit purposes.
Personal Papers are documentary materials of a private or non public character that do not relate to or have an effect upon the conduct of BLM business.
Records include all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine-readable materials, e-mail, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government under federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved, or appropriate for preservation, by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Government or because of the information value of data in them.
Removal is the permanent removal of materials from the custody of BLM. The prohibitions regarding removal apply to current as well as departing employees.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: Manual Section 1270 - Records Administration.
Coordination: This IM was coordinated with Chuck Sandau, Human Resources Officer, Montana State Office.
Contact: If you have any questions regarding this IM, please contact Debbie DeBock, State Records Administrator, at (406) 896-5157, or Chuck Sandau, Human Resources Officer, at (406) 896-5264.
Signed by:                                                                               Authenticated by:
Katherine P. Kitchell (for)                                                         Lynnell Cellmer
Jaime E. Connell                                                                      Records Management Assistant
State Director                                                                           (MT934)
1 Attachment
        1 – Privacy Act Guidance for Departing Employees (1pp)

Last updated: 06-28-2012