Georgia to Close State Archives to the Public

With thanks to RPAC State Liaison Elizabeth Olson,  the Georgia Secretary of State published the following announcement on 13 September 2012:

Statement from Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp on Public Closure of the State Archives Effective November 1, 2012

 

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget has instructed the Office of the Secretary of State to further reduce its budget for AFY13 and FY14 by 3% ($732,626).  As it has been for the past two years, these cuts do not eliminate excess in the agency, but require the agency to further reduce services to the citizens of Georgia.  As an agency that returns over three times what is appropriated back to the general fund, budget cuts present very challenging decisions.  We have tried to protect the services that the agency provides in support of putting people to work, starting small businesses, and providing public safety.

To meet the required cuts, it is with great remorse that I have to announce, effective November 1, 2012, the Georgia State Archives located in Morrow, GA will be closed to the public.  The decision to reduce public access to the historical records of this state was not arrived at without great consternation.  To my knowledge, Georgia will be the only state in the country that will not have a central location in which the public can visit to research and review the historical records of their government and state.  The staff that currently works to catalog, restore, and provide reference to the state of Georgia’s permanent historical records will be reduced.  The employees that will be let go through this process are assets to the state of Georgia and will be missed.  After November 1st, the public will only be allowed to access the building by appointment; however, the number of appointments could be limited based on the schedule of the remaining employees.

Since FY08, the Office of the Secretary of State has been required to absorb many budget reductions, often above the minimum, while being responsible for more work.  I believe that transparency and open access to records are necessary for the public to educate themselves on the issues of our government.  I will fight during this legislative session to have this cut restored so the people will have a place to meet, research, and review the historical records of Georgia.

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Check back in coming days for suggestions as to appropriate responses from the genealogical community.

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7 thoughts on “Georgia to Close State Archives to the Public

  1. A facebook group has been started for supporters
    https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiansAgainstClosingStateArchives

    An online petition has been started
    https://www.change.org/petitions/the-governor-of-ga-leave-our-state-archives-open-to-the-public

    The Friends of the Georgia Archives had a great meeting yesterday. Many wonderful ideas were generated. Please check the FOGAH web site often for information and updates. Early next week we will post a list of the ideas generated, key talking points, sample letters etc. We have to keep the pressure on! http://www.fogah.org/

  2. Pingback: Georgia Archives to Be Closed to the Public « GenealogyMedia.com

  3. from Representative Pat Gardner: “I agree that the availability of the archives of the state should be open to the public. Would it be possible for you to help those constituents of the 57th District interested in this issue to contact me directly? ” Please email her NOW at:
    Pat Gardner
    State Representative
    pat.gardner@house.ga.gov

  4. In the ultimate of ironies and embarrassments to our great state , tomorrow Governor Deal will proclaim October as Archives Month in Georgia. This is NOT a protest, however it is an opportunity to support our archives in a public forum.

    From Marie Force, President at Society of Georgia Archivists:

    Event Details and Information:

    Date: Wednesday, September 19
    Time: 11:00 AM
    BE THERE BY 10:45 AM

    Place: Governor Deal’s office, Room 203, the Capitol

    Parking and Directions: http://www.libs.uga.edu/capitolmuseum/about/directions.html
    The following lots are always open to the public if spaces are available:
    • Steve Polk Plaza Parking
    • A surface lot located on the north side of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, a block west of the Capitol
    • Underground Parking: A parking garage located on the north side of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, two blocks west of the Capitol
    Please note:
    • All attendees must report by 11:00 AM to the Governor’s Office. The staff manages multiple groups so we have to be assembled and ready to go by 11 AM. This allotted time on the Governor’s calendar is for a photo op ONLY.

    • When you arrive, you will receive an “I Support Our Georgia Archives” sticker to wear. Everyone should have one on to make a visual statement of support.

    • We will also have copies of the AJC article with the Coalition to Preserve the Georgia Archives header ready to hand out.

    • We will have letters in support of the Georgia Archives ready to hand to the Governor, if the opportunity arises.

    • No banners, flags or placards are allowed in the Capitol.

    • Unfortunately, we are between sessions so few legislators will be in their offices and only some support staff will be available. BUT, take this opportunity to find out who your representatives are and where their offices are located. Pay them a visit and let them know your concerns. Check out the Society of Georgia Archivists page for tips: http://soga.org/involvement/legislative

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