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GCN : June 2015
A dustup over email retention led New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to eliminate the policy of auto-deleting state workers’ email messages after 90 days. Now any email purges will be done manually. The move came in response to calls for greater transparency, especially in light of the attention thrown on the issue by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account for official State Department correspondence. However, Bill Mulrow, Cuomo’s top aide, put a different spin on the issue. The Wall Street Journal quoted him as saying, “I came from the private sector before I joined the administra- tion, and as we know, this is really not about retention. Everybody knows that emails last forever. It’s really more about records management and how we find a uniform policy and how we find transparency.” The policy change means that more communications will be retained and accessible for public records requests or investigations of wrongdoing, Pro- Publica reported. The previous auto-delete policy was in effect for about two years, so it’s probable that some public records have been lost. “The purged emails are not coming back,” wrote John Kaehny, executive director of the pro-trans- parency group Reinvent Albany, in an email message to ProPublica. “There [is] no Freedom of Information Law or archive ‘police’ to ensure that email records are actually being saved.” In addition to the policy change, Cuomo’s administration announced it will introduce a bill that would bring the state legislature in line with the state’s Freedom of Information Law practices. • New York to retain state workers’ email BY DEREK MAJOR README What: “Local Government Energy/ Environment Technology Priorities for 2015,” a survey by the Public Technology Institute. Why: The researchers concluded that the top priorities for local officials involved in energy, environment, sustainability and technology are the same as those of government IT managers: funding, aging infrastructure, and disaster mitigation and preparedness. Respondents also cited the failure of information and data sharing between utilities and municipalities, environmental management systems, keeping up with technology updates and statewide consistency in renewable energy standards as top concerns. Because local governments are first responders, they appreciate the “interdependencies between energy systems and communications, transportation, emergency management and other infrastructure systems that are critical at the local level of government,” the report states. After Hurricane Sandy, local government officials pushed disaster mitigation and preparedness to the top of their priority lists. Energy assurance planning is more expensive if local governments have to develop plans in the wake of a disaster. By contrast, preparedness contributes to energy efficiency and sustainability because it supports the finance, communication, health and transportation systems that stabilize and protect the public in times of crisis. Full report: is.gd/PTI_energy GCN JUNE 2015 • GCN.COM 9 retro tech GCN has covered government IT since 1982, and the technology started earlier still. The Census Bureau, for example, relied on a dozen of these IBM Alphabetic Accounting Machines for the 1940 census. (Commerce Department photo) CATALOG.ARCHIVES.GOV 0615gcn_006-009.indd 9 6/4/15 11:11 AM