Letter to the editor
I just read Diane Frank's article "Advisers fuel HR debate." I agree that federal employees should have to apply for the jobs within Homeland Security the same as any other positions within the federal government.
There is a lot of discussion about information technology problems and how to solve them. There is no discussion about the records management problems the new homeland department will have.
Records management is the taking of raw data and placing it into a usable format, having it available to the right person when needed, releasing it under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act, retaining it for the proper length of time, and destroying it properly.
The Homeland Security Department needs to ensure it has a strong records management division. It should not be under the IT department; it should be at the same level as IT. The Homeland Security Department records manager should oversee all programs written by IT to ensure the data being placed in it or created by the program is retained for the proper length of time. He/she needs to ensure that all the data coming into this department is stored and retained correctly.
This department has a unique opportunity to set up a records management division correctly so what happened to the FBI will not happen to the Homeland Security Department.
Name withheld by request