State News

E-mail panel presents proposals to governor

Posted May 20, 2008 7:54 p.m. EDT
Updated May 20, 2008 9:14 p.m. EDT

— A panel reviewing state government e-mail storage policies told Gov. Mike Easley on Tuesday that messages should be kept longer and state employees should be better trained about public records law.

The committee of state officials, attorneys and former journalists approved its final recommendations last week. Tuesday was its presentation to Easley.

Easley created the panel following allegations that his press office had ordered the systematic deletion of government e-mails. Media outlets later sued.

The committee recommendations include:

  • Additional training for employees on the public records law
  • Archiving state records
  • Periodic records audits
  • Increasing the time data are backed up on the state system from 30 days to a minimum of 5 years

The panel doesn't propose changing the policy that lets workers determine whether an e-mail constitutes a public record and therefore must be saved.

The executive branch receives nearly 900,000 e-mails every day. Saving them is expected to cost about $75,000 a year.

The committee also addressed BlackBerry hand-held units, laptops and home computers. They concluded that any public document created on those platforms must be backed up on the state system, too.