“That’s public record,” said Attorney Cory Briggs with San Diegans for open government, one of many government watchdogs who are outraged over the policy announced to city employees last month stating e-mails that are older than one year would be automatically deleted from the City’s E-mail Systems.
City officials told Fox 5, they just can’t afford the software to store the emails.
“There was a need for then Interim Mayor Gloria to balance availability of information with the fiscal costs related to its storage,” said San Diego City Spokesperson, Katie Keach.
That cost is estimated to be between $400,000 and $500,000.
Briggs who filed a lawsuit against city government Monday, said deleting the emails would infringe on the public’s right to access records and potential evidence on how officials are running the city.
“We need to be able to refer back to that if we’re trying to figure out, was this policy effective?” stressed Briggs.
The policy may even be in conflict with a state law stating city government records are required to be retained for a minimum of two years and that failure to comply could be punishable criminally.
In response to the outcry the city’s new Mayor, Kevin Faulconer, has put the policy on hold pending further review, but watchdog groups asking him to kill it, are growing skeptical.
City officials have said there’s no reason for skepticism, stating it is a technical email system issue they’ve known about for months.