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Records Management: Inadequate Controls Over Various Agencies' Political Appointee Files

NSIAD-94-155 Published: Jul 13, 1994. Publicly Released: Aug 12, 1994.
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed political appointee record management controls at the Departments of State, Commerce, and Interior, Agency for International Development, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.


Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
National Archives and Records Administration To improve controls over records on political appointees in federal agencies, the Archivist of the United States should issue instructions to federal agencies that purpose standard disposition schedules for White House liaison records that authorize the destruction of appropriate records at the end of each presidential administration.
Closed – Implemented
The National Archives has surveyed agencies to determine the most effective deposition mechanism for political appointee records and is in the final stages of approving a model for agencies to follow.
Department of State The Secretary of State should clarify the description of State's Privacy Act systems of records in the Federal Register to ensure proper description of White House liaison and Presidential Appointments records.
Closed – Implemented
State is revising its Privacy Act system of records to ensure proper description of White House liaison and Presidential Appointee records.
Department of State The Secretary of State should change the Foreign Affairs Manual and the Department's records management handbook to indicate the proper time for retirement of civil service employees' Office Personnel Folders.
Closed – Implemented
State is coordinating its internal approval process for changing the Foreign Affairs Manual and the records management handbook. Changes in personnel have delayed the final approval.

Full Report

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Classified informationDocument reclassificationFacility securityFederal employeesFederal records managementGovernment job appointmentsPersonnel recordsPresidential appointmentsPublic officialsRecords dispositionInformation classification