Comment by March 29, 2019: Protect GHI’s Institutional Knowledge

Please take a moment to read and submit your comments on the draft record retention policy to by March 29, 2019. What follows below are vital points for your consideration that were raised in conversation with a thoughtful, well-informed GHI neighbor.

Why this Matters?

The GHI Board of Directors is considering a draft policy that identifies routine categories of records generated in the course of routine business. However, there remains a number of records that have not been evaluated and categorized — unless the Board takes action through the policy, these records may be destroyed after five years without first being evaluated for their importance to the co-op’s institutional knowledge.

Examples of records that may be destroyed include:

  • Federal Government records relating to the development of Greenbelt and sale of the housing units to the Cooperative
  • Annual Reports
  • Committee and Task Forces Files* (including major initiatives such as the Greener Greenbelt Initiative and Greenbelt Historic District Study)
  • Documents relating to prior partnerships/projects with Federal/County/City Governments (including energy studies, demographic studies, and efforts to make GHI more racially, economically and ethnically diverse)
  • Newsletters and Marketing Materials dating back to the 1950’s
  • Major Studies conducted by Consultants (including: Replacement Reserve Studies)
  • Photographs

* The policy appears to be unclear about what committee/task force files will be saved.

For Your Consideration

As you submit comments, consider asking the Board to appoint a Records Management Task Force that will:

  • Inventory and evaluate existing records for historical or operational significance
  • Partner with the Greenbelt Museum/University of Maryland Special Collections or other organization to make historically significant records available to the public.
  • Digitize records which are important for understanding the current operations of our co-op.
  • Explore opportunities to apply for grants that will fund records-preservation efforts.

Thank you!

photo courtesy mcfarlandmo under Creative Commons license Attribution 2.0

Author: Mo Hamilton

Mo Hamilton joined GHI in 2013 after living in the Washington area for 18 years. She lives in large yard that was sold with a block honeymoon cottage attached. Contact Mo at

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