At their December 4th meeting, the City Commissioners will vote on extending the City’s agreement with Smarsh, Inc., the City’s vendor for archiving public records. The proposed three-year extension will cost a maximum of $320,000 per year to archive emails, text messages, and social media feeds.
The Sunshine Law requires the City of Tallahassee to retain public records and make them accessible. The City has contracted Smarsh, Inc. since 2010 to comply with public records laws.
The Smarsh software, managed by the Technology and Innovation (T&I) Department, automatically captures public records like business-related electronic communications and webpages. This creates an archive of public records that can be quickly searched.
In 2017, the City’s agreement with Smarsh expanded to include keeping records of text messages. In 2018, after updating existing public records policies, the City Commission adopted the Public Records, Records Retention, and Disposition Policy (Policy 140).
Policy 140 requires the City to archive communications like social media posts. According to section 140.D.07, all content posted to City-owned and City-sponsored social media accounts must be retained.
“Smarsh currently offers a subscription service capable of capturing emails, text messages, and social media feeds,” staff reports.
T&I aims to extend the agreement with Smarsh for three years. According to the meeting agenda, extending the agreement to include this service will cost a maximum of $320,000 annually. For a period of three years, the maximum total cost will be $960,000.
“There are sufficient funds in the following T&I operating budgets to cover this cost: 705-160101-521190 and 705-160601-521190,” staff reports.
If the Commissioners vote to extend the agreement, it will comply with Policy 140, and Smarsh will continue to archive emails, text messages, and social media posts.