More than 10,000 genealogists recently "signed" an electronic petition that was sent to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) concerning budget cuts being made by the agency. (You can read about that by clicking here.)
Writing to the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), Sandy Clunies, President of the National Capital Area Chapter, APG, reports on a recent presentation by David McMillen, NARA's External Affairs Liaison. Mr. McMillen reports that the petition recognized for its major impact by the Senior Staff at NARA, including Archivist Allen Weinstein.
Here is Sandy's report, republished here with her permission:
At our quarterly meeting on Saturday, our speaker was David McMillen, NARA's External Affairs Liaison, and the topic "The Budget Cuts - What's Next?"
Mr. McMillen wants to genealogy community to know that the petition, signed by over 10,000 genealogists in September, was indeed an amazing communication recognized for its major impact by the Senior Staff at NARA, including Archivist Allen Weinstein.
That some "bean counters" reported it as a single "comment" in published reports did not reflect its immediate and significant impact on the decision to re-open NARA for one long weekend per month. Mr. McMillen confirmed that our petition was indeed a major factor in that decision.
There has been no Congressional action on HR 5576 since July 18th. Congress in in recess now and returns after the election for just four days of deliberation on the remaining FY 2007 appropriations legislation. There is no expectation that anything except rushed passage of existing bills will occur this year, given that many will likely then be lame-duck members of Congress.
BUT, it is NOW time to get on record for NEXT year's federal budget - FY 2008 budgets are now being generated with deadlines at the Office Of Management and Budget (OMB) in November 2006. It is OMB that makes the recommendations to Congress each year. Mr. McMillen suggests that our efforts be directed towards OMB to express our concerns about NARA funding shortfalls, and that they be sent to the Director there:
Rob Portman, Director
The Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20503
In addition to reporting on the budget crisis, Mr. McMillen discussed future plans that include partnerships with private sector entities to increase the digitizing of some NARA records. To learn about the new partnership with Google, see: http://www.archives.gov/google/
-- Sandy Clunies
Sandra MacLean Clunies, CG
National Capital Area Chapter, APG