The Department of Corrections on Friday notified state public records officials that the agency will destroy certain training records the day they are created, after scrapping a similar plan weeks ago.
Winn Collins, DOC’s chief legal counsel, said in a letter to Public Records Board chairman Matthew Blessing that DOC intends to apply a public records retention rule that allows public officials to destroy records the day they are created to videos classified as “motivational interviewing” — often role playing.
If the recordings classified as motivational interviewing are needed to evaluate an employee, then a different retention rule will be applied — requiring the records to be kept for at least eight years.
The decision to continue to apply the retention rule to the recordings comes weeks after officials withdrew a proposal to destroy training recordings after just one day of their creation.
DOC spokesman Tristan Cook said if a DOC supervisor wishes to use a recording in reviewing or evaluating an employee’s performance, the recording will be maintained as part of the employee’s personnel file. Cook didn’t say what triggers the recording to be moved into an employee’s file.
Cook said DOC began training staff in motivational interviewing in January.
The similar proposal, first made in July, was scrapped and withdrawn from the Public Records Board’s consideration after board members expressed concerns over allowing the quick destruction of such recordings.
Cook said in July that the proposed rule would cover audio and video recordings meant for “skill practice, technique training and quality assurance of service … within training courses, on-the-job training or while performing job duties.”
Public Records Board committee member Helmut Knies of the Wisconsin Historical Society said at the July 19 meeting that the proposed retention rule of one day should be rewritten to include a narrower scope or be split into two proposals in order to keep recordings of certain kinds of Corrections employees longer than one day.
Friday’s letter said the retention rule would apply “predominantly” to motivational interviewing.
DOC records officer Lynn Condreay said at that meeting that the intention of the original proposal was to cover the retention of recordings of employees for the purpose of providing feedback on how to improve their job performance.
The recordings could be of a probation officer interviewing a person on probation, for example.
But Knies said then that the retention rule should be rewritten to ensure recordings of a probation and parole officer or a correctional officer could be kept longer, especially if those recordings are used in officers’ performance reviews.