NY to retain state workers’ emails
- By Derek Major
- May 28, 2015
A dustup over email retention led New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to eliminate the policy that auto-deleted state workers’ emails after 90 days. Going forward, any email purges will be manual.
The move comes in response to calls for greater transparency, especially in light of the attention thrown on the issue by Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account from which she sent official State Department correspondence.
Bill Mulrow, Cuomo’s top aide put a different spin on the issue.
“I came from the private sector before I joined the administration, and as we know, this is really not about retention,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “Everybody knows that emails last forever,” he added. “It’s really more about records management and how we find a uniform policy and how we find transparency.”
The policy change means that means more communications should be retained and be accessible in response to public records requests or in the case of investigations of wrongdoing, ProPublica reported.
Since the auto-delete policy was in effect for about two years, it’s probable some public records have been lost. “The purged emails are not coming back,” wrote John Kaehny, head of the pro-transparency group Reinvent Albany, in an email to ProPublica. “There are no Freedom of Information Law or archive ‘police’ to ensure that email records are actually being saved.”
In addition to the policy change, Cuomo’s administration announced it will also introduce legislation that brings the state legislature in line with the state’s Freedom of Information Laws practices.
Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.