Governor Andrew Cuomo needed to hold a meeting to figure out he should stop his administration's policy of automatically deleting emails after 90 days.
Earlier this year, Capital New York reported that Cuomo and his staff have been deleting emails after 90 days since 2013, but it wasn't until Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested that his administration started to delete with zeal: "According to memos obtained by Capital, mass deletions began Monday at several state agencies after officials finished consolidating 27 separate email platforms to a single, cloud-based system called Office 365. It lets I.T. administrators purge any older messages, and can be set up to do so each day. It's unclear exactly which agencies and employees were most affected by the purge, but according to employees and documents, accounts at the departments of health and economic development as well as the Department of State began new, regular deletions on Monday evening."
Cuomo called for today's "transparency" meeting to discuss the email enema policy back in March (after AG Eric Schneiderman defied the policy, but also claimed that the policy was to make government work more efficiently. Capital has details from yesterday's meeting:
Top administration officials, including Cuomo's secretary Bill Mulrow and his counsel Alphonso David, said that after reviewing the policies of 47 other states, they would amend rules that the advocates said inevitably lead to the destruction of significant records.
“The 90-day [auto-deletion] policy is being eliminated as of today,” David said.
...While electronic records are to be preserved according to a 118-page, 215-category retention policy, non-records can be “retained until the administrative value has been served,” David said.
An email to a person about grabbing lunch could be an example of a non-record, he continued, while an email passing along a state contract would likely be a record and fit into the retention schedule.
“Going forward it's going to be governed by the user, and it's going to be manual more than anything else,” David explained.
Further, Cuomo is proposing a bill to make the Freedom of Information Law apply to all parts of the government, because right now, many Legislature items are exempt.
Government watchdog group Reinvent Albany told Capital, "Governor Cuomo likes to lead, he should lead on transparency by issuing an executive order that requires agencies to save all emails for seven years per the federal model. Ending the 90 day automatic deletion was good, but it doesn't restore the years of records that were lost. Our eyes are on the governor to lead by example and not hide behind legislative misdirection and a complex 'uniform policy' with other branches of government."
Cuomo is currently in NYC, as his companion Sandra Lee recovers from a double mastectomy. She and her team have been Tweeting a number of intimate photos of the notoriously private governor, showing his softer, White House-ready side.