Cuomo Under Scrutiny for Email Deletion Policy Implemented by State Government Offices
Governor Andrew Cuomo has come under scrutiny for a controversial email deletion policy that was recently implemented by all state government offices.
Emails from state government offices are currently purged after 90 days, a policy that is several years old but only recently took effect statewide.
"I just left the private sector, and it was 90 days," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This policy has been in place since before 2007. It's basically just something that the governor, the administration inherited."
This week, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that his office was suspending the automatic deletions, and state legislators are now introducing bills to preserve official state emails.
"Government ought to be retaining records for its history in order to understand what happened at what points in time, to challenge things that perhaps should be challenged," said state Senator Liz Krueger of Manhattan.
The flap over email retention comes as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is engulfed in her own email controversy after it was reported she used a private email account while she was in the cabinet. Clinton is also under scrutiny for admitting that she erased more than 30,000 emails.
The email controversies ironically come as Albany heads into what is known as Sunshine Week, where open government and transparency is celebrated. Last Monday, Republicans in the Assembly tried to pass some good-government bills, which the Democratic majority shot down.
"We had 17 reforms that would truly bring acountability to this government by putting term limits on speakership and all leadership positions in this house. Also making sure that committee votes were online," said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island.
When he ran for speaker earlier this Year, Carl Heastie promised to make the legislative process in the Assembly more transparent.
"Well, some of these things I've taken upon myself," he said. "But at some point, when we get past the budget, we will put together our working group on reforms."
The pushback over the email policy appears to have affected the governor, who announced Thursday that he will convene a meeting among the governor's office, the legislature, the comptroller's office and the attorney general to come up with a uniform statewide policy for email retention.