The Lawrence County Public Records Commission
Their Duties and Responsibilities

The governing body over the Lawrence County Archives is the Lawrence County Public Records Commission and the county executive. Tennessee state law requires that each county appoint a public records commission consisting of certain members. Each county's commission must consist of at least six members; additional members are optional. Three of these positions are appointed by the county executive/county mayor, then must be confirmed by the county commissioners. Of these three, one is to be a member of the county legislative body (county commissioner), one a judge of one of the courts in the county, and one a genealogist. In addition, certain county officials automatically become members by nature of the office they hold. These members are the county clerk, register of deeds, county historian and the county archivist. Members remain on the board until their term in office expires, or they are deceased. All members have the same right and privileges, including voting rights.

The commission must elect a chairperson and a secretary and keep minutes of all its proceedings and transactions.  Members are not paid a salary, except that any member who does not already receive a fixed annual salary from the state or the county "may" receive a $25 for each meeting. State law requires that the county public records commission meet at least twice a year.

The county legislative body appropriates funds for utilities and maintenance for the building, to pay salary for one full time staff member, purchasing needed supplies and small equipment, telephone and internet service.

The archives has also been very fortunate in receiving several grants over the past 11 years from the State of Tennessee. In 1998, the Secretary of State initiated a program to encourage development of local archives. The Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) is the action agency, and the Assistant State Archivist is the action officer for this Archives Development Program (ADP). Beginning in fiscal year 1999, $50,000 per year has been made available for some 10-15 program improvement grants to local government archives. Grant funds received by the archives have been used to purchase computer equipment, shelving, acid-free storage folders and boxes, microfilm reader and printer, 2 map cabinets, 2 microfilm cabinets, etc.

Current members of the Lawrence County Public Records Commission are:

Chairperson - Lila Gobbell County Executive - J. Mack Chandler Register of Deeds - Teresa Dunkin
County Commissioner - Chris Jackson County Clerk - Chuck Kizer County Genealogist - Wallace Palmore
General Sessions Judge - Patricia McGuire County Historian, Archives Director, & Secretary - Kathy Niedergeses Lawrence Co. Library Director - Teresa Newton

Timeline of Organization of Lawrence County Public Records Commission

Feb. 3, 1983 - The public records commission held their organizational meeting Feb. 3, 1983. A discussion took place concerning the rules and regulations of the commission pertaining to records.

Feb. 8, 1983 Public records commission met in basement of courthouse and discussed records room, methods of storing and filing and obtaining shelving for storage of the records. (After this, there is a lapse of 3 years in the minutes. Do not know if they were inactive or the minutes have been lost.)

Apr. 23, 1986 Jeff Brown of TSLA met with the prc and helped with guidelines and how to maintain a records room. All destruction of records should be approved by the TSLA.

Mar. 18, 1987 Organizational meeting. Meet in the basement of the courthouse to view records in storage room to determine possibility of a different method of storage and cleaning. (Evidently, the county felt the need to reorganize the prc. Possibly some members died or resigned, or a new county executive decided to move forward with the establishment of an archives.)

Apr. 15, 1987 Mr. Tom Turley of the TSLA met with the commission and gave suggestions on how to organize the room.

Apr. 22, 1987 The PRC met in the basement of the courthouse, sorted and disposed of the records already approved by the TSLA.

July 28 1988 PRC met and added members Jeanette Held and Kathy Niedergeses. Cathey McClew gave a report on how the JTPA workers were advancing with sorting and listing records in the basement. Kenneth Weathers said he now has all the old marriage certificates and bonds stored in his office. The problem of proper care of the records and allowing public access was discussed. Records need to be microfilmed.

On Sept. 21, 1988, a few members of the prc moved the records from the basement of the courthouse to the basement of the post office. The prc met in the Lawrence County Archives in the basement of the post office.

April of 1991 The archives formally opened its doors to the public by holding an open house for the county executive, elected officials and their staff, and the county commissioners.

1992-1993 - About two years later the archives moved from in two small rooms in the back of the basement of the post office to a larger room with two small rooms providing more space for records storage and researchers.

February 2005 - The archives moved to the a temporary location in the east room of the library.

September or October 2008 the archives moved to their current location in the former First Farmer's & Merchant's building in Leoma, TN. This is to be our permanent home

*Additional Info will be added at a later date.

Last updated May 24, 2011 by Kathy Niedergeses   

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