Local Politics

Media outlets sue Easley over deleted e-mails

Posted April 14, 2008
Updated May 31, 2008

— Several media organizations sued Gov. Mike Easley on Monday, claiming his administration has routinely flouted the state's public records law by deleting official e-mails.

The suit seeks a court order preventing state employees from deleting government e-mails and requiring officials to ensure that people in their departments comply with the state public records law.

The e-mail debate has raged in the weeks since a fired Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman said Easley's administration had an unwritten policy to delete e-mails daily.

Easley and members of his staff have denied the allegation, although handwritten notes from two public information officers support the fired worker's claim. The notes, taken during a May 2007 meeting, indicated the governor's press office told public information officers to delete e-mails.

The governor appointed a committee to review state policies for handling e-mails and text messages, but he said in a recent interview that he trusts state employees to delete only frivolous e-mails, such as invitations and jokes.

The Governor's Office receives about 900,000 e-mails each work day, and maintaining all of them would be expensive and time-consuming, he said.

Media representatives have argued that all e-mails sent to and from government offices are public records and should be maintained for possible future review.


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  • needmarc Apr 15, 2008

    Why it it so hard for elected officials to tell the truth? It seems after they have entrenched themselves into office for years, that some how they are above the law. Just another reason for term limits, serve four years as Governor and you are gone, serve once and never again. When did our government start caring about how much it would cost to store email (when convenient to coverup something), with all the other millions of dollars wasted by this administration in mental health, and transportaton to name a few. If the media outlets win the law suit, I hope the Public Information Officer that lost her job has to be reinstated and gets back pay for having been put through this seemingly coverup by this administration. It's time to cleanup the legislature, stop sending career politicians to represent you. Remember, after they serve one term, they are not there representing your taxpayer interest anymore. Vote corruption out of office!

  • IzzMad2016 Apr 15, 2008

    TheAdmiral : my sentiments exactly!

  • TheAdmiral Apr 15, 2008

    PetLovinCaryLivinBuckeyeFan -

    Because their parents did not teach them that entitlement ends where first amendment or private or top secret classified materials are concerned.

  • IzzMad2016 Apr 15, 2008

    I support Free Speech. What I don't understand is why these "media outlets" think they're entitled to be privy to anything and everything anybody says at any given time on any given topic. I believe in free speech but I also believe not everything is my business whether it be in the general population or the various local, state and federal sectors.

  • alx Apr 15, 2008

    can we add easley to the list: Megg Scott Phipps, Frank Ballance, Thomas Wright, hmmm there is something that links all of these.

  • TheAdmiral Apr 15, 2008

    Why are they wasting my tax money suing my tax money?

  • APPMAN Apr 14, 2008

    You need to check into Lyndo Tippett too at DOT.

  • Justabum Apr 14, 2008

    Who cares?

  • whatelseisnew Apr 14, 2008


    Fair question. While I am glad to see they are doing this, Easley will soon be gone. too little and too late.

  • PaulRevere Apr 14, 2008

    I only question why is the media NOW pressing Easely on anything? He's gone for nearly 2 terms with nary a peep from the press about anything bad. It's bizarre.