Improving the Public Comment Process for Records Schedules

We are changing the process for public review and comment of proposed records schedules to one using the Federal eRulemaking Portal,  https://www.regulations.gov.  We posted a Federal Register notice detailing this change in process today.

Currently, we publish notice in the Federal Register of agency records schedules open for comment. People who wish to review and comment on the schedules must request copies of the actual documents, submit comments, and receive responses via mail or email.

This new process eliminates the need to request copies of the schedules and appraisal memoranda. We will post batches of records schedules to regulations.gov as supporting “Other” documents at the same time as the notice. Comments on proposed records schedules can be posted directly on regulations.gov, thus streamlining the administrative process. We are also extending the comment period from 30 days to 45 days. The option to submit comments by mail remains for anyone who is unable to submit comments via regulations.gov.

We will consider all comments received by the posted deadline and consult with the Federal agency seeking the disposition authority as needed.  After considering comments, we will post on regulations.gov a “Consolidated Reply” summarizing the comments, responding to them, and noting any changes we have made to the proposed records schedule. We will then send the schedule for final approval by the Archivist of the United States. You may subscribe to alerts and receive updates on the docket, including an alert when we post the Consolidated Reply, whether or not you submit a comment.

We are making the change to regulations.gov as a result of clear, widespread interest from the public to utilize a web-based platform for a more modern, transparent, and efficient way to review and comment on records schedules. We are interested in receiving feedback on this new process and will continuously strive to improve the experience for providing public comments on proposed records schedules. You may send feedback to us at request.schedule@nara.gov.

7 thoughts on “Improving the Public Comment Process for Records Schedules

    1. Sorry, I must have missed the link. Underlining links and changing the text color to blue might make them more obvious.

  1. The notice reads- We will post schedules on our website in the Records Control Schedule (RCS) Repository, at https://www.archives.gov/​records-mgmt/​rcs, within two or three weeks after the Archivist approves them. The RCS contains all schedules approved since 1973.
    Question- will the appraisals also be published in the RCS Repositories, since the appraisal is now, presumably, available through the regulations.gov?

  2. The notice reads- “Copies of schedules and consolidated responses will remain on the regulations.gov website after the comment period has passed, although all commenting features will be disabled when the comment period ends.”
    Questions-
    1. Will the appraisal remain part of the schedule “package” on regulations.gov after the schedule is approved?
    2. If the schedule (and appraisal) is altered as a result of comment, will the new versions of the schedule and appraisal also become part of the schedule package on regulations.gov?
    b. Will both the original schedule and the original appraisal remain part of the “package.”
    3. I believe that commentators were permitted 15 days to respond to NARA’s response to comments. Am I incorrect, or has this response opportunity been eliminated?
    4. If the schedule is withdrawn, will the Schedule “package” on regulations.gov be closed by an official document, such as a “withdrawal letter” to an agency?
    Thanks!

  3. Here are the responses to your questions. First, yes, the appraisal will remain a part of the schedule package. If the schedule is revised, we will post it to our Records Control Schedule repository. The changes will be noted on the consolidated reply. Both the original schedule and the original appraisal will remain part of the package. The schedule and appraisal will be posted for 45 days with no additional comment period after Consolidated Reply is posted. A Consolidated Reply will be posted noting that the schedule has been returned without action and without being approved if the schedule is withdrawn.

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