The Georgia Archives does matter

Welcome to the Georgia Archives Matters blog. The blog is part of a larger effort to support the Georgia Archives. Harnessing the power of people coming together for a common goal, we will make sure that Georgia’s historical records are properly preserved and made accessible to Georgia citizens.

For those of you who are new to this issue, a little background…

The Georgia Archives, created in 1918, is a division of the office of the Secretary of State. Its mission is to “serve state and local governments and the people of Georgia by identifying, selecting, preserving, and making accessible the records that constitute the state’s recorded history; by documenting state government decisions; and by aiding local government to meet open records requirements.” (Source: The New Georgia Encyclopedia)

While the agency was created in the early 10th century, state records have been collected since 1755. The official state seal, currently housed at the Archives, dates back to 1799.

For more information, visit the New Georgia Encyclopedia:

http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-2983&sug=y

From the Georgia Archives Web site:

Why we exist

  • We support legislators and state agencies by providing background information and context for proposed legislation and current issues.
  • We maintain records that protect your legal and property rights, as well as those of the state government and the counties.
  • We decrease the liability, and increase the efficiency, of state agencies through proper records management.

The award-winning, state-of-the-art Archives facility which opened in 2003 is located in Morrow, at the edge of the Clayton State University campus and adjacent to the National Archives-Southeast Region. This vital resource and its historical records and artifacts exist to educate, protect and support the people of Georgia.

As Georgia’s tax revenues have declined, so has the fate of the Archives. The facility suffered an 82 percent reduction in staff and went from being open to the public five days a week to two.

Earlier this year Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal ordered all Georgia departments to reduce their budgets by three percent. On Sept. 13, Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced that the Archives would close. Kemp chose to take the entire three percent cut mandated for his department from the Archives budget. He later announced the termination of seven of the remaining 10 staff members.

After a vigorous protest from the community, Gov. Deal responded, saying the state would find the money to keep the Archives open. Archives employees serve at the pleasure of the Secretary of State, so the governor’s announcement may not save the seven. The Georgia legislature has the final say over the state budget. The General Assembly session will begin in January. Citizens may not know until the end of the session the fate of the Archives.

Vivian Price Saffold, board member, Georgia Genealogical Society

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3 Comments

Filed under Get Informed, What You Can Do

3 responses to “The Georgia Archives does matter

  1. amy landesberg

    how do we sign the petition – where is it? thanks

  2. Current petition:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/the-governor-of-ga-leave-our-state-archives-open-to-the-public

    Please sign the petition. However, it is also very important to contact the governor and representatives in the Georgia General Assembly. http://www.legis.gov.ga

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