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NY's 90-day email deletion policy under review

Mar 13, 2015 6:24 am
Casey Seiler at Capitol Confidential reports that a state senator and assemblymember introduced an email retention bill this week for state officials. Seiler is also reporting that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has ordered his office to immediately suspend the 90-day automatic deletion policy put in place by his predecessor, now Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The order came in a memo from Schneiderman's Chief of Staff Micah Lasher. Lasher said the AG's counsel has been directed to formulate a new document retention policy. Schneiderman took heat over transparency last summer, when his office refused to release full records of communications between AG staff and political consultants. The AG’s office insisted the communications were exempt from FOIL because the consultants were serving as unpaid and uncontracted advisers. Bob Freeman of the Committee on Open Government called that argument “a stretch.” Official New York state emails are now purged after 90 days to avoid later scrutiny. Late Thu., March 12, Cuomo jumped on the story, telling Capital New York he wanted to convene a summit to look at the policy. “The 90-day email policy was implemented in New York State in 2007 by then Governor Spitzer's administration, and expanded to include the Attorney General's office that year,” Cuomo spokesperson Melissa DeRosa said. “We believe the policy should honor transparency while maintaining efficiency. To that end, as the Attorney General and the legislature appear open to revising their policies, the Governor’s office will convene a meeting with representatives from the legislature, the Attorney General and the Comptroller to come up with one uniform email retention and FOIL policy that applies to all State officials and agencies.”
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