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CTRL-S: Cuomo Reverses Policy On E-Mail Deletion

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas
Governor Andrew Cuomo in Goshen, NY 09.22.11

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has reversed a policy that would have resulted in all e-mails by state officials and New York employees being deleted after 90 days.

Cuomo made the decision to end the newly enforced policy, after the Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, announced that he would end the 90-day deletion policy . It was first put in place when Cuomo was Attorney General, and Eliot Spitzer was governor, back in 2007, when it was technologically much more difficult to store vast numbers of emails.

Bills were circulating in the legislature to outlaw the 90-day deletions and instead adopt a plan similar to that of the federal government, which keeps all emails for seven years. E-mail policies of public official’s are drawing national attention with the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s using a personal email account for government business when she was Secretary of State.

The governor is also raising the stakes. Cuomo’s spokeswoman says the governor will “convene a meeting with representatives from the legislature, the Attorney General and the Comptroller to come up with one uniform email retention and FOIL policy that applies to all State officials and agencies.” Currently, the legislature is not subject to the Freedom of Information Law.

Several government reform groups are calling on Governor  Cuomo to act sooner, and issue an executive order to save all state emails for seven years. The groups include the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, Citizens Union, and the New York Public Interest Research Group.

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