Statement Delivered at the Giuliani Papers Press Conference
New York City Hall
February 6, 2002
Society of American Archivists
Thank you for allowing me some time to offer the viewpoint of the Society
of American Archivists on the disposition of Rudolph Giuliani's mayoral
My name is Tom Connors and I serve on the national Council of the Society
of American Archivists. SAA is the oldest and largest national professional
organization of archivists in North America. SAA serves the educational
and informational needs of more than 3400 archivists and provides leadership
to ensure the identification of, preservation of and access to records
of historical and cultural importance.
SAA strongly deplores Rudolph Giuliani's decision to by-pass the
New York City Department of Records and Information Services to deposit
his mayoral papers and other materials in a privately maintained third-party
institution. These records were created during Mr. Giuliani's tenure
as a public servant and are therefore public records.
His action, though he might state otherwise, has the practical effect
of delaying and thereby denying access to an important body of public
information by those with a legitimate interest in the policy history
of Mr. Giuliani's term as Mayor of the City of New York.
It might be asked why a national organization of archivists wants to
speak out on a local records issue. SAA believes that Mr. Giuliani's
action has ramifications beyond Manhattan and the five boroughs. There
seems to be a movement among certain parties in positions of power in
various American locales to create barriers to American citizens'
right to know what their governmentsnational, state and localare
doing. Archivists find this trend alarming and want to join the chorus
of outrage that is being raised by the many constituencies who believe
in open access to government information.
In September 2001, this city
took a terrible body blow in the form of
a terror attack against the people and institutions of New York and
America. The world has marveled at how this city has rebounded from that
how New Yorkers have come together to rebuild and recover, and how public
institutions have done their part in this effort.
Rudi Giuliani's action seems to work counter to this message of
moving forward. This is a time when New York's public institutions
should be strengthened, not weakened. The former mayor's action weakens
the very institution whose charge is to serve as the custodian of the
historical recordindeed the institutional memoryof New York
The Society of American Archivists is proud to join with the other signatories
to the letter and calls on Mayor Bloomberg to rethink this matter and
return Rudolph Giuliani's mayoral records to the City of New York.