April 2012

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Building the City’s ‘Collective Memory’

Jeffrey Wilson: Guardian of records.


Jeffrey Wilson, a Grant Analyst at the Department of Records for the last six years, is part of a small team that ensures the integrity of the records and grant applications in City government.

He explained that along with two other co-workers, he provides “guidance to mayoral agencies in the development of grant projects [for record management] from the first conceptual stages to the preparation of final application drafts.” He added that he monitors “the grant awards and provides oversight of the financial accounting,” and that at the end of grant projects he prepares “comprehensive reports for the New York State Archives.”

Wilson said, “This job is very important because it enables the public to be able to get valuable information pertaining to City and State government.”

The job is cyclical, in that grant proposals come in at certain times, making some weeks busier than others. But he likes it when it is busy. “I get to read grants and improve record management,” Wilson said.

Wilson reads a lot of well-written grant proposals, but a lot of bad ones as well. “Some people write some terrible ones, and then I help them,” he said.

At the end of the day, he is proud of the records collection and grant process he and his co workers maintain. “The wealth of documentation, including photographs, moving images, sound recordings, maps, architectural drawings, ledgers, and office records serve as the collective memory of the nation’s largest city,” he said.

Active in Union

Wilson is an active SSEU Local 371 member, serving as a Delegate as well as Co-Chair of the Union’s Political Action Committee.

The downside to Wilson’s job is that in this small agency there is little room for upward mobility and no way for him to work overtime hours. But that will soon change, as the department will soon merge with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “We welcome it,” he said of the merger.

Social Service Employees Union Local 371
817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003