By Lisa Haralampus and Chris Naylor

Government employees create and maintain federal records as an integral part of their daily responsibilities. Agencies must ensure employees are aware of their responsibilities regarding the management of records, especially during presidential transitions.

To assist agencies, the National Archives and Records Administration has created an online publication, “Documenting your Public Service,” that provides all government employees, including senior officials and political appointees, with information regarding their responsibilities for managing federal records.

For senior officials, many of their records are permanently valuable and one day will be sent to the National Archives to help document the country’s history. As senior officials often enter and leave federal service during times of presidential transition, there are several things they should know to properly manage and preserve their records.

When entering federal service, it is important to lay the foundation for good records and information management.

Some key points to remember are: 

While working in federal service, records management should be routinely incorporated into daily activities and work processes.

Federal employees must always remember the following guidelines:

When leaving federal service, remember specific recordkeeping responsibilities.

Federal employees cannot take records with them when leaving federal service, but they may be able to take some copies of federal records as well as their personal materials. Setting up good practices from the start of your career will make it much easier to manage federal records at the end of your service.

To further explain the obligations, NARA has developed transition specific guidance materials for political appointees covering the key points outlined above, including a one page handout and an online briefing video.

Lisa Haralampus is the Director of the Records Management Policy and Outreach program in the Office of the Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government at the National Archives and Records Administration where she issues government-wide policies for federal agencies related to records management standards, technology and processes. 

Chris Naylor is the Deputy Chief Operating Officer at the National Archives and Records Administration and is currently serving as NARA’s Presidential Transition Director.

This blog post originally ran in 2016 and was one of our favorites from the last election cycle. One of our most popular posts, the information remains valuable for transition planning.

By Zach Piaker

There is both disruption and continuity in a presidential transition. Thankfully, a support structure of career staff and their agencies stands ready to assist the presidential transition teams BEFORE the election and the incoming administration after the votes have been counted. 

In 2010, Congress passed the Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act to provide major party presidential candidates with support and services after their nominating conventions. This law added to a range of services that are provided by the government to the presidential campaigns. Here are some places to turn to for help. 

Campaigns don’t need to search for federal resources, though. Congress mandated GSA to create a Presidential Transition Directory, which was launched online last fall to help eligible 2016 presidential candidates get quick and easy access to key resources about the federal government’s structure and policies related to presidential transition.

More resources are available to transition teams—including templates, timelines and guidance—in our own Center library

The “transition service providers” all play a critical role in the transition process. Last summer, the Center for Presidential Transition started a series of meetings with representatives from these agencies. Getting support teams together early and often helps federal service providers share information and create strategies and solutions. 

Thanks to the work of this group, the next president’s transition team will be better supported than ever before.