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National Archives Proposes Fee Increase
An open letter from E. Paul Morehouse, OGS President
Dear OGS Member,
On Monday, February 26, 2007, the National Archives and Records Administration published proposed fee increases scheduled to go into effect later this spring. Some of the increases are modest but the fee for a full pension file for a Civil War veteran will jump from $37.00 to a whopping $125.00. This is an increase of 337%.
In Summit County, Ohio, where I live, copies of non-certified records from the Probate Court cost only five cents per page. This price was established after litigation, an Attorney General's opinion, and a judge's ruling that only the cost of making the copy could be charged. The salary of the government employee making the copy could not be factored into the copy cost because a public employee's salary was already being paid by the taxpayers. If a price increase is truly needed, it should be set at a specific rate per page in each record type.
It seems rather obvious that NARA's leadership either wishes to recoup the cost of the employee time used to produce the copies or does not wish to be bothered by those pesky genealogists wishing copies of their ancestors' records. This smacks of an Executive Department tax increase which has not been approved by Congress!
Please review the proposed fee schedule below:
If you feel as strongly as I, please register your opinion about the proposed fee increases at NARA. Please read the following and respond by the April 27, 2007 deadline.
SUMMARY: NARA is revising its fees for reproduction of records and other materials in the custody of the Archivist of the United States. This proposed rule covers reproduction of Federal records created by other agencies that are in the National Archives of the United States, donated historical materials, Presidential records, Nixon Presidential historical materials, and records filed with the Office of the Federal Register. The fees are being changed to reflect current costs of providing the reproductions. This proposed rule will affect the public and Federal agencies.
DATES: Comments are due by April 27, 2007.
ADDRESSES: NARA invites interested persons to submit comments on this proposed rule. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:
You might also wish to contact your personal Member of the United States House of Representatives and the two United States Senators from your state to let them know of your feelings on this price increase by NARA. If you wish to send an e-mail, the website address is www.visi.com/juan/congress.
E. Paul Morehouse