Gov. Andrew Cuomo today defended a state policy that automatically deletes emails after 90 days, saying state workers can save the emails before they are deleted and that the state is working on a broader policy across all agencies.
Cuomo joked that he’s not great with technology, amid questions over his use of a personal Blackberry to message aides rather than use email — which limits the paper trail.
He also hinted as his most preferable means of communication: telephone calls. (If you’re on a mobile device, you can watch the video here: http://bcove.me/9jnod0fw)
“I don’t want to say that I’m a sort of old fashioned, telephone guy, but a little bit I am,” Cuomo said with a smirk.
As for his technology skills, the 57-year-old governor said: “I am making progress, but I am not a big email guy, no.”
He said it would be inaccurate to suggest that emails are simply deleted after 90 days, saying it was former Gov. Eliot Spitzer who first put in the policy in 2007 and that he’s merely extending it to state agencies.
“We have a 90-day email policy that Spitzer put in place. So the state had a 90-day policy that we inherited from Spitzer. As I said, we want a uniform policy: Senate, Assembly, governor, attorney general , comptroller, ideally,” said Cuomo, who last said he’ll have a summit on email policies in the coming weeks.
“It would make no sense to have one policy for the executive chamber and a different one for the agencies. That would be nonsensical,” he continued.
He added, “It’s not a 90-day auto-delete policy. That’s misleading and unkind and inaccurate.”
“You have a records-retention policy that says you must save all records. So all records must be saved. For non-essential documents, you can save them for as long as you want to save them, but you have to save them,” Cuomo said. “But non-essential documents that you don’t save, they are then deleted after 90 days because we are trying to get the garbage off the system for storage purposes.”
Cuomo has faced criticism over the policy, with good-government groups and some lawmakers saying the policy can easily wipe out important documents. The groups and lawmakers have proposed a seven-year retention policy of emails.