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Friday, March 13, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - "Cuomo’s Rule on Purging State Email Roils Albany"

That is the headline to a lengthy front-page NY Times story today, reported by Thomas Kaplan, about the e-mail retention policy followed by New York state government. According to the story, "Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration [has] put in place a policy of automatically deleting state workers’ emails after 90 days." Some quotes from late in the story:

The ubiquity of email has created a new set of challenges for officials and archivists alike, who, instead of filling cartons with written correspondence, must grapple with the virtual expanse of electronic communications that now course through sprawling bureaucracies.

States must figure out how to cull messages worth preserving from the large quantity of emails that often are ephemeral in nature, said Vermont’s state archivist, Tanya Marshall, who is president of the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators. “Part of the challenge with email is it’s such a large system that everybody partakes in,” Ms. Marshall said. “Different states have taken different strategies — or maybe no strategy.”

Aides to Mr. Cuomo argued that the state’s policy was being wrongly portrayed as nefarious, asserting that the emails whose content makes them qualify as government records will be properly retained. Bristling at the characterization of Mr. Cuomo as secretive, they also said similar policies existed in the corporate world and in other governments.

State officials have not offered a detailed rationale for the policy. Cost or physical limitations would not seem to be obstacles: Under the new email system, every state worker has a large amount of email storage. The main reason given for the policy, as Ms. Miller said in a statement, was to “increase efficiency.”

The bill proposed by Ms. Krueger and Mr. O’Donnell, who are Manhattan Democrats, would require emails to be preserved permanently for senior officials, in addition to the seven-year requirement for other state workers. Another Democrat, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz of the Bronx, introduced his own bill on Thursday that would require longer or permanent retention of email while forbidding the use of private email accounts for government business. The Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, a Republican from Long Island, has said he would support legislation to change the email policy.

Here is the ILB's March 3rd post on Indiana's policies: "What is the state policy re email retention?" And here is the March 6th ILB post, headed " Is the General Assembly subject to the public records law?"

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 13, 2015 11:23 AM
Posted to Indiana Government