A Model Records Management System for Texas Public Utilities: An Information Science Tool for Public Managers
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Introduction: The way in which agencies receive information changes daily as does the type of information they deal with. Whether it is on e-mail, flash drive, even paper, each tool an agency uses is considered to be a record. Public administration is no longer a "sit and wait field". Many decisions require "on-demand" access to information and records. That need is magnified in a public utility given the variety of agencies, business and individual customers supported. Texas has specific requirements regarding how agencies manage information. Utility industrial standards and regulations make compliance efforts even more stringent. To address this issue, a preliminary model is needed for how an agency should manage its records. The goal of this project is to lay a framework for an effective records management program. Purpose: The first purpose of this paper is to develop a model records management system for public utilities in Texas using relevant scholarly literature. Second, the model was evaluated by a pool of experts. Third, a revised model records management system based on expert feedback is developed. Theory/Methodology: Focused interviews were conducted with 10 experts to determine whether or not the preliminary model was sound. Frequency distribution was used to quantify responses to those questions. Open-ended recommendations were also solicited to provide input in creating the revised model. Findings: The existing model was largely comprehensive but needed the addition of two major components. The resulting model consists of the following components: System Design, Establishment of a Records Management Plan, Establishment of a Records Management Team, Inventory Management, Vital Records Management, Retention and Control Schedule Management, Disaster Planning and Recovery, and System Audit and Control. These components define an expanded and comprehensive model for agencies to use in creating their records management programs.