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Cuomo Eyes New Email Policy After Purging Controversy

PHOTO: Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to meet with lawmakers and other state officials to come up with a new policy for retaining official email, following controversy over his own practice of purging email messages after 90 days. Photo credit: Diana Robinson/Creative Commons.
PHOTO: Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to meet with lawmakers and other state officials to come up with a new policy for retaining official email, following controversy over his own practice of purging email messages after 90 days. Photo credit: Diana Robinson/Creative Commons.
March 16, 2015

NEW YORK - Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to meet with lawmakers and other state officials to come up with a new policy for retaining official email correspondence, following controversy over his own practice of purging email messages after 90 days.

An administration spokesperson said Cuomo wants to come up with an email retention policy that applies to all state employees. State Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, is the sponsor of a new bill that would ban email purging in New York government.

"I'm delighted that the governor recognizes we need to modernize our email-retention policies," she said. "I think that an open discussion among all the players is an excellent idea."

The Cuomo administration says the 90-day email policy began in 2007 under former Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Cuomo's office defended it at first, saying it increased efficiency.

Krueger's bill, S 4307, introduced in the state Senate last week, would prohibit New York government officials from deleting emails for at least seven years. The bill also would make the state Legislature subject to New York's Freedom of Information Law.

Krueger said her proposal would make it easier for New York to comply with public-records requests - and make state government more transparent.

"It should be quite easy to come to agreement on appropriate, even standard, retention policy for emails," she said, "and that would be a great victory for all."

According to Cuomo's office, the governor plans to meet with the attorney general, comptroller and state lawmakers to discuss potential changes to the email policy.

The move comes as Hillary Clinton faces continued criticism over her decision to use a private email server to conduct official business during her tenure as U.S. secretary of state.

The text of Krueger's bill is online at open.nysenate.gov.

Derek Hawkins, Public News Service - NY