Budget cuts have led to the closure of the state archives to the public, effective Nov. 1, according to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget has instructed Kemp to reduce his budget by another 3 percent for the amended fiscal year 2013 and fiscal year 2014, a total of $732,626.
“As it has been for the past two years, these cuts do not eliminate excess in the agency, but require the agency to further reduce services to the citizens of Georgia,” Kemp said.
“As an agency that returns over three times what is appropriated back to the general fund, budget cuts present very challenging decisions. 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.”
Kemp said it was with “great remorse” that he announced the impending closure of the state archives in Morrow.
“The decision to reduce public access to the historical records of this state was not arrived at without great consternation,” he said. “To my knowledge, Georgia will be the only state in the country that will not have a central location in which the public can visit to research and review the historical records of their government and state. The staff that currently works to catalog, restore and provide reference to the state of Georgia’s permanent historical records will be reduced. The employees that will be let go through this process are assets to the state of Georgia and will be missed.
“After Nov. 1, the public will only be allowed to access the building by appointment; however, the number of appointments could be limited based on the schedule of the remaining employees.”
Kemp said he will fight during the next General Assembly session to have the cut restored “so the people will have a place to meet, research, and review the historical records of Georgia. I believe that transparency and open access to records are necessary for the public to educate themselves on the issues of our government.”