If you really believe this new policy wasn't a reaction to Chuck Rosenthal's email scandal, we should talk - there's a bridge across Buffalo Bayou I'd like to sell you.
Under state law, local governments and their departments must retain correspondence related to the department's administration for two years and correspondence about policies and program development for five years. ...
Austin lawyer Bill Aleshire, a volunteer with the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, said he has noticed more local and state entities are enacting e-mail destruction policies.
The policies, he said, violate portions of the Texas Government Code if officials are deleting e-mails that relate to official county business.
"People under the Texas Public Information Act have a right to access to public information," Aleshire said. "If government agencies are destroying that information, they're interfering with the rights under the public information act."
Gov. Rick Perry's office has begun deleting e-mails every seven days, and a number of school districts delete e-mails every two weeks. None of the policies has been challenged by lawsuits, Aleshire said.
He also expressed doubt about arguments that deleting e-mails is primarily done to save electronic storage space.
"You don't have enough storage capacity to keep all the records when the records retention policy says you should, then you should get a bigger computer," Aleshire said. "Storage on computers is amazingly cheap."
Other county departments are not following the sheriff's lead.
Individual departments can develop their own policies. But Steve Jennings, the county's chief information officer, said he knew of no other departments purging e-mails after two weeks.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Sheriffs email deletion violates law, smells of coverup
Given that the emails which so embarrassed Harris County DA Chuck Rosenthal were generated in a lawsuit alleging a cover up for misconduct at the Sheriff's office, who really believes that the timing of a brand new Harris County Sheriff's policy to delete all email after 14 days is really a "coincidence"? Reports the Houston Chronicle ("Sheriffs office email purge catches some deputies off guard," Jan. 18):