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Archive presses on despite questions

Members of the Public Records Commission are moving ahead with plans for the archive despite some unanswered questions about the mayor’s offices moving to the downtown courthouse.
“Are we smiles or frowns looking back on the commission meeting,” Chair Sam Humphreys asked members during the May 5 meeting.
During its April meeting, the commission approved the establishment of a Washington County Records Management and Archives Department, the fees to fund its operation, the designation of 103 W. Main St. as the archive site, and moving the monthly commission meetings to the George P. Jaynes Justice Center.
The only problem is the commission would not approve the resolution for renovations that would enable the mayor to move his offices from the archive-designated space to the courthouse.
“Four out of five ain’t bad; we’ll get it,” Commissioner Alpha Bridger said.
The request will be considered again during the May meeting when bids for renovation costs will be available.
“If we have to go somewhere else, we might as well throw in the towel,” Humphreys said, referring to the 12-year search for a location that ended recently with Mayor Dan Eldridge’s offer of his building, contingent on his offices relocating to the courthouse.
Facilities Sub-Committee Chair William Kennedy said he believes the Public Records Commission is close enough to begin thinking about how the building could be adapted for an archive.
Ned Irwin agreed.
“Even if we’re not ready to meet with an architect, we could begin a list of what we will need,” he said.
A meeting of the Facilities Sub-Committee was scheduled for Thursday, May 19, at 4:30 p.m. in the Washington County Office Building. Those interested in volunteering with the archive are invited to attend and tour the building.
John Kiener, Records Sub-Committee chair, agreed to contact the state archivist and schedule a sub-committee meeting for June.
County Attorney John Rambo said the possibility of the county’s offices eventually moving to electronic records needs to be considered in the planning for the collection and storage of hard-copy records.
Irwin volunteered to draft a job description for the to-be-hired Washington County archivist, a position that will be discussed during the next Public Records Commission meeting on Thursday, June 2, at 5 p.m. in the office building at 103 W. Main St.