Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has released a plan to reduce the number of hours at the Georgia Archives. The plan comes after Kemp announced last month the archives would be open only by appointment starting Nov. 1 . Kemp says under the plan, the archives will be open two weeks a month on Thursday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will allow a total of 288 visitors to make appointments during those times.
“There was no good decision I could have made under the circumstances we’re under. But the one I did make is the least impactful that I felt like we could make.”
Kemp says the Archives will be able to accommodate 97 percent of the current visitors it does now. However, the appointments will be limited to 2 or 2.5 hours depending on the type of appointment. Those making appointments in the Open Documents Research Area will have to provide the Archives staff with specific requests so the records can be pulled and waiting on them when they arrive.
After the initial announcement and seven of the Archive’s 10 full-time workers learned they would be laid off, the proposal drew protest from around the state. One of those who was unhappy with the reduction in access to historical documents was Kaye Minchew with the Coalition to Preserve the Georgia Archives. Minchew says the changes appear better than initially expected. However, she has a number of concerns, including the staff reductions that are planned at the Archives starting on Nov. 1.
“I question whether the two staff members and the facilities guy can maintain this.”
Kemp says the changes are due to budget cuts requested by Governor Nathan Deal. Kemps says he “will continue to work with the Governor, General Assembly and other interested parties to restore funding and access to the Archives.” The Archives is currently open without appointment on Fridays and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.