In a message dated Wed, 27 Mar 2002  8:59:10 AM Eastern Standard Time, "Caputo RG (Rick)" <[log in to unmask]> writes:

> My point is that since both scenarios exist, I think it is important that RM
> professionals not appear to defend or financially justify their programs on
> the latter.

I'm not really sure that many RMs try to justify their programs on the basis of eliminating 'smoking guns'. As pointed out in other missive, context is all important. One of the reasons why I firsted started posting RM stories to the list was the inevitable 'smoking gun' story that would appear from time to time in the press. The best one that I remember involved a federal price-fixing investigation of the paper industry. Time was running out on the investigation, no hard evidence had been found nor appeared to be forthcoming until a retired executive secretary received a subpoena to produce records that she had maintained in her garage. Lo and behold there was the smoking gun, a thank-you note for a lunch sent by one paper company executive to another company's executive. The Thank you note contained the following (paraphrased from memory) "I agree with the pricing structure that we discussed today."

Now the letter did not appear in the official files, it had reached its retention, but it was found in the retirees garage. Why? because she kept a copy of everything. Why? did she have a copy anyway? Unfortunately I can't remember.

Smoking gun stories are useful in pointing out the hazards of not properly following the retention schedule, but more is needed. Employees need to be trained on proper methods of documentation, notetaking, file maintenance and more. If the employee in Rick's example does not agree with something then a memo to file should be created detailing the problems rather than just writing "this idea is stupid" next to the agenda item.

As an example will the following litigation case result in more companies eliminating historical records or not starting archives?

Peter Kurilecz
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