PARKERSBURG - A grant application for $17,000 will be submitted to the West Virginia Records Management and Preservation Board of the West Virginia Archives and History Division seeking help with records storage issues.
Wood County Circuit Clerk Carole Jones and Toni Tiano, county grant coordinator, told county commissioners Thursday if the grant is approved by the state, the county would need to come up with $1,800 in matching funds.
"If the grant is approved, older paper file divorce cases, from 1951-1974, would be scanned then shredded. There are about 70 drawers full of these cases. The funds from the grant would allow the circuit clerk's office to get a shredder, a scanner and a laptop, as well as pay overtime and other expenses incurred related to the records," Tiano told commissioners.
Photo by Pamela Brust
Wood County Circuit Court clerk Carole Jones, right, and Toni Tiano, county grant coordinator, presented a proposed grant application to the county commission on Thursday. If approved by the state, the grant would provide funds for shredding and scanning some older divorce records.
Jones has repeatedly asked for assistance in addressing storage problems in her office, with older files being stored at various out-of-office locations. Back in June, Jones invited archives/preservation department officials from Charleston to walk through areas where some of the records are being stored to determine what, if any, of the records no longer need to be kept.
The commissioners on Thursday approved the grant application so it can be forwarded to the state.
"The records are on retention schedules. We send a list of them to Charleston and they have to sign off that it is all right to destroy them," Jones said.
The circuit clerk noted rather than hire new personnel part-time to shred and scan the documents, which would necessitate training, she had current employees who were willing to do the work afterhours. Tiano said the grant provides funds for overtime for the work.
"We are hoping this will be a continual process and we can reapply next year for additional funds to keep moving forward with this project as the retention schedule permits so that additional records can be scanned and shredded," Tiano said.
Jones said the documents will be scanned and available in her office so if the parties need a copy it will be on hand. Some of the documents contain confidential information, so the circuit clerk noted having her own already trained employees handle them will be useful.
The RMPB was created by the West Virginia Legislature in 2000 to develop a system of records management and preservation for county governments. Funding for the grants program comes from filing fees collected by county clerks and deposited in the special Public Records and Preservation Account.
In other business Thursday, U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., stopped by the courthouse for a brief visit with the commission, with the main topic of discussion being the more than 400 federal employees who may be coming here after an earlier announcement from the U.S. Bureau of the Public Debt.
In August, bureau employees were informed of the possible relocation of 450 jobs from the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area to Parkersburg. In February, the bureau announced the proposed consolidation of the Bureau of the Public Debt and the Financial Management Service. Under the plan, the jobs will be mostly accounting and information technology jobs with some management functions and related support departments. However, the move will not result in the immediate relocation of employees to the area, and the first employees to be transferred may not be moving to the area until late 2013. The bureau spokesman said the move would take place over two or three years in phases. Congressional approval is needed before the plan can be implemented.
"Everyone wants a piece of the pie, but we need the jobs and this county commission is focused on that. No one is blinking in Washington, and we will continue to support the county commission here on this issue," McKinley said.
"We are confident we can do the job better and more cost effectively right here," Couch told McKinley.