Georgia archives to stay open two days a week

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ATLANTA — The Georgia State Archives will remain open to the public two days a week after an uproar over plans to limit access to appointments only for six days a month, state officials said Thursday.

Gov. Nathan Deal and Secretary of State Brian Kemp said $125,000 of a planned $733,000 cut in funding would be restored. They said the move will allow the archives to keep its current hours for the remainder of the budget year.

Kemp spokesman Jared Thomas said it was not immediately known whether planned layoffs of seven employees at the archives would still occur. In making the announcement, the governor also said he planned to ask state lawmakers to transfer oversight of the archives from the Secretary of State’s Office to the University System of Georgia.

Last month, Kemp announced plans to lay off state workers and give limited, appointment-only access to the archives in Morrow, where Georgia keeps important records dating to its founding in 1733. The changes were to have taken effect Nov. 1.

Scholars, amateur historians and genealogists had protested the move, saying it would restrict access to the state’s most valuable papers.

After years of belt-tightening, Deal, a Republican, had ordered every state agency to reduce spending by 3 percent for the remainder of the current budget year, which runs through June 30.

Kemp had imposed the entire $733,000 cut on the archives and issued layoff notices to the seven workers, who are responsible for conservation, preservation and reference, among other things.

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