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Record Retention and Destruction Policy

The Municipal Transportation Agency Record Retention and Destruction Policy is adopted pursuant to Chapter 8 of the San Francisco Administrative Code, which requires each department head to maintain records and create a records retention and destruction schedule. This policy supersedes all previous record retention and destruction policies issued by the Municipal Transportation Agency.

This policy covers all records and documents, regardless of physical form or characteristics, which have been made or received by the Municipal Transportation Agency in connection with the transaction of public business.



The Municipal Transportation Agency shall retain records for the period of their immediate or current use, unless longer retention is necessary for historical reference, or to comply with contractual or legal requirements, or for other purposes as set forth below. For record retention and destruction purposes, the term "record" is defined as set forth in Section 8.1 of the San Francisco Administrative Code. Documents and other materials that do not constitute "records" under that section, including those described below in Category 4, may be destroyed when no longer needed, unless otherwise specified in Part II. The records of the Municipal Transportation Agency shall be classified for purposes of retention and destruction as follows:

Category 1: Permanent Retention. Records that are permanent or essential shall be retained and preserved indefinitely.

· Permanent records. Permanent records are records required by law to be permanently retained and which are ineligible for destruction unless they are microfilmed or placed on an optical imaging system, and special measures are followed. Admin. Code Section 8.4. Once these measures are followed, the original paper records may be destroyed. Duplicate copies of permanent records may be destroyed whenever they are no longer necessary for the efficient operation of the Municipal Transportation Agency. Examples of permanent records include project files, Board files, internal and external audits and personnel hiring and disciplinary records. Not every department will have permanent records.

· Essential records. Essential records are records necessary for the continuity of government and the protection of the rights and interests of individuals. Admin. Code Section 8.9. Examples of essential records are: Fleet Engineering Records, Accident Records and Grant Awards and Modifications.

Category 2: Current Records. Current records are records that for convenience, ready reference or other reasons are retained in the office space and equipment of the Department. Current records shall be retained as follows:

· Where retention period specified by law. Where federal, state, or local law prescribes a definite period of time for retaining certain records, the Municipal Transportation Agency will retain the records for the period specified by law. Examples of records required to be maintained for a specific period are Worker's Compensation Records, grievances and payroll records; e.g., Conflict of Interest Form 700 must be retained 7 years pursuant to Gov. Code §81009(e); Accident-Injury reports must be retained 5 years pursuant to 29 CFR 1404.6.

· Where no retention period specified by law. Where no specific retention period is specified by law, the retention period for records that the department is required to retain shall be specified in the attached Record Retention and Destruction Schedule. Records shall be retained for a minimum of two years, although such records may be treated as "storage records" and placed in storage at any time during the applicable retention period. Examples of current records include: correspondence, schedules and administrative records.

Category 3: Storage Records. Storage records are records that are retained offsite. Storage records are subject to the same retention requirements as current records. Example of storage records include citizen complaints, invoices and payroll correction reports.

Category 4: No Retention Required. Documents and other materials that are not "records" as defined by Admin. Code section 8.1 need not be retained unless retention is otherwise required by local law or by the attached Record Retention and Destruction Schedule. Documents and other materials (including originals and duplicates) that are not otherwise required to be retained, are not necessary to the functioning or continuity of the Department and which have no legal significance may be destroyed when no longer needed. Examples include materials and documents generated for the convenience of the person generating them, draft documents (other than some contracts) that have been superseded by subsequent versions, or rendered moot by departmental action, and duplicate copies of records that are no longer needed. Specific examples include telephone message slips, miscellaneous correspondence not requiring follow-up or departmental action, notepads, e-mails that do not contain information required to be retained under this policy, and chronological files.

With limited exceptions, no specific retention requirements are assigned to documents in this category. Instead, it is up to the originator or recipient to determine when the document's business utility has ended.


Records and other documents or materials that are not expressly addressed by the attached schedule may be destroyed at any time provided that they have been retained for the periods prescribed for substantially similar records.


Records may be stored in the Municipal Transportation Agency's office space or equipment if the records are in active use or are maintained in the office for convenience or ready reference. Examples of active files appropriately maintained in the Municipal Transportation Agency's office space or equipment include active chronological files, research and reference files, legislative drafting files, pending complaint files, administrative files, and personnel files. Inactive records, for which use or reference has diminished sufficiently to permit removal from the Municipal Transportation Agency's office space or equipment, may be sent to the City's off-site storage facility or maintained in the SFMTA's storage facility.


Historical records are records that are no longer of use to the SFMTA but which because of their age or research value may be of historical interest or significance. Historical records may not be destroyed except in accordance with the procedures set forth in Administrative Code section 8.7.


The retention periods set forth in the attached record retention schedule shall not apply to materials that are otherwise eligible for destruction, but which may be relevant to a pending claim or litigation against the city. Once the Municipal Transportation Agency becomes aware of the existence of a claim against the SFMTA, the SFMTA will retain all documents and other materials related to the claim until such time as the claim or subsequent litigation has been resolved. When the SFMTA has reason to believe that one or more other city departments have records relating to the claim or litigation, those departments will also be notified by the SFMTA of the need to retain such records.

Records retention schedule, scanned PDF For accessibility assistance, please contact Caroline Celaya, 415.701.4648. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) disclaimer

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