Two of Mayor Bill de Blasio's top aides regularly use personal email for work-related communication, the Daily News reports.
First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris—de Blasio's second in command—as well as director of intergovernmental affairs Emma Wolfe regularly corresponding on city matters through their personal emails. Though personal emails are still searchable through the Freedom of Information Law, reporters attempting to access such communications must know the exact email address of the official in question before submitting the request.
“It makes it massively more difficult,” John Kaehny, co-chairman of the NYC Transparency Working Group, told the tabloid.
De Blasio spokesperson Phil Walzak denied allegations that Shorris and Wolfe are intentionally obfuscating government activities by using their personal emails. “The de Blasio administration is committed to transparency, and officials use government email to conduct government business,” he said.
Filing a FOIL request with the city is often an exercise in futility—and frustration—for reporters. Gothamist's own experience soliciting information from the de Blasio administration has been vexing. In May, we were denied records relating to de Blasio's communications on behalf of Bishop Orlando Findlayter on the basis that no records on the matter existed, despite the Mayor's office confirming to the NY Times that the calls were placed.