HARTFORD, Conn. – With Gov. John G. Rowland's (search) departure about a week away, his staff has begun the daunting task of sifting through documents and mementos collected over the years, deciding what to save for historians.
Among those papers will likely be Rowland's resignation letter, delivered to the secretary of the state on Wednesday, two days after he told residents he was stepping down from office amid impeachment proceedings and a federal corruption probe.
The one-page document includes one terse sentence: "I hereby announce my resignation as Governor of the state of Connecticut effective 12:00 noon, July 1,2004."
It is signed: "Sincerely, John G. Rowland, Governor."
State Librarian Kendall F. Wiggin said he has met with Rowland's staff to explain what kinds of documents it should be saving, such as correspondence, official statements, news releases, constituent files and photographs.
The governor's office is required to keep nearly everything, including memos, because it is part of the public record. Public information laws require that clearance be given before any public document can be destroyed, Wiggin said.
Federal investigators may still want access to the documents for the ongoing probe, so it could be a while before state library staff begins its process, Wiggin said. Library workers only recently finished organizing papers from former Gov. William O'Neill (search), who left office in 1991.
Many files will be available for Lt. Gov. M. Jodi Rell (search) when she takes over the top job on July 1.
Wiggin said the collection process isn't much different from a regular change in gubernatorial administrations, except that the time frame was condensed.
The state library will also soon receive boxes of documents from the House Select Committee of Inquiry, which conducted a four-month investigation into Rowland's conduct and planned to recommend his possible impeachment (search) on June 30. The paperwork will be made available to the public.
"Over time, the files will be used by researchers, people doing history. But there won't be the crush of interest had he not resigned," Wiggin said.