Tags: US | Cuomo | Vanishing | Emails

Cuomo Calls for New Policy after Criticism of Email Purges

Friday, 13 Mar 2015 01:25 PM

 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling for a new email retention policy for state leaders following criticism about his administration's practice of generally purging emails after 90 days.

The Democratic governor will meet with other top state officials to create a single email retention policy for all officials and government agencies, according to a statement from spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa.

The policy of automatically deleting official emails after only 90 days sparked concerns from government watchdogs and some lawmakers who said it was an affront to government accountability and transparency.

The governor's email troubles come as Hillary Rodham Clinton faces questions over her handling of email correspondence during her tenure as secretary of state.

Cuomo's office said the retention policy dated back to former Gov. Eliot Spitzer's administration, but Cuomo expanded it widely this year to cover most other state agencies. The system is staying in place ahead of the meeting, which Cuomo's office said would include representatives from the offices of the attorney general, the state comptroller and legislators.

"We believe the policy should honor transparency while maintaining efficiency," DeRosa said in her statement. The current policy says email will be saved when needed for litigation, for long-term projects or "potentially responsive" to public information requests.

Good government groups and transparency advocates have objected to the policy in New York, saying it violated the spirit of freedom of information laws, commonly known as FOIL in New York, by depriving the public of access to potentially important records.

"Realistically if records no long exist, FOIL no longer applies," said Robert Freeman, executive director of the committee on public access.

Cuomo instituted a similar purge policy in 2007 when he was attorney general. Current Attorney General Eric Schneiderman suspended the practice this week.

"Attorney General Schneiderman is committed to openness, transparency and restoring the trust of New Yorkers in their government," Schneiderman Chief of Staff Micah Lasher wrote in an email to staff on Thursday.

The policy was widely expanded across the Cuomo administration recently when dozens of state agencies were brought under a single email system.

At a legislative hearing earlier this month, Margaret Miller, the state's chief information officer, said 52 state organizations had upgraded and consolidated into one new cloud-based system that carries out the 90-day deletion policy reaffirmed by the administration in June 2013. The emails are deleted permanently, and can't be recalled, she said.

Miller testified that it was consistent with accepted practices elsewhere and meant to encourage good behavior by state workers to address emails in a timely way.

Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell and Sen. Liz Krueger have introduced legislation to make New York's email retention policy permanently preserve the records of policymakers, legislators and statewide officials, and keep those of other officials for at least seven years.

O'Donnell said state officials may not know for months or even years whether certain emails are critical for FOIL requests or lawsuits.

The New York Comptroller's Office, which audits state financial activities sometimes going back years, has a separate system with no automatic deletions where individuals can retain emails indefinitely, spokeswoman Jennifer Freeman said.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

   
1Like our page
2Share
US
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling for a new email retention policy for state leaders following criticism about his administration's practice of generally purging emails after 90 days.The Democratic governor will meet with other top state officials to create a single...
US, Cuomo, Vanishing, Emails
516
2015-25-13
Friday, 13 Mar 2015 01:25 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved