Please sign the petition to keep our Georgia Archive open.
Driving home from work today I heard this on the radio: after November 1st, the Georgia Archive will be closed to the public. Those wanting access to the records will need an appointment. Currently, they are only open Friday and Saturday from 8:30-5:00pm.
There is no information regarding this change on the Archive's website. I was waffling on whether or not to make the hour long drive tomorrow to do some research; I guess I better go while I can. I'm sad to say that, while extremely disappointed, I'm not really that surprised.
Response to my email from the Secretary of State, Brian Kemp:
- Article on Atlanta Business Chronicle.
- Article on WSAV TV.
- Article on Augusta Chronicle.
- Article on WSBradio.
"Dear Ms. Craft,
Thank you so much for taking the time to contact our office about the eminent public closure of the Georgia Archives. First, let me assure you that this was a measure of last resort.
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget has required that our Office further reduce its budget for the upcoming year by 3% ($732,626). As has been the case for the past two years in this challenging budget environment, these cuts do not eliminate excess in the Agency. They require the Agency to reduce services to the citizens of Georgia.
We have tried to protect the services that the agency provides in support of putting people to work, starting small businesses, and providing public safety. Furthermore, the elections functions of the Agency are mandated by state and federal statute, making budget reductions illegal. [in response to my, admittedly snide, query of elections, which are also run by the SOS]
While Archives does provide a great service to the citizens of Georgia, the department only generates a fraction of the revenue that it costs to operate. We simply do not have the money to keep it open to the public, but will honor open records request and make sure we are always in full legal compliance.
I will fight during this legislative session to have this cut restored so the people will have a place to meet, research, and review the historical records of Georgia. I would ask for your help in this matter by contacting your state legislators and asking them to restore funding to the Georgia Archives. If you do not know how to contact your legislators, you can locate them at here: http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/FindLegislator.htm
Brian P. Kemp
Jared S. Thomas, Press Secretary"