SAN DIEGO — On the heels of San Diego’s move to kill a proposed email policy that would’ve deleted thousands of emails considered by many to be public record, several other local government email retention policies are being put into question.
In La Mesa, city government keeps emails for at least 2 years.
In Chula Vista, the policy is 3 years but in Poway, Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos and even the San Diego County government emails are being deleted much sooner; some in as little as 30 days.
“It seems bizarre to me that anybody would consider deleting their email after 30 days, it makes email almost unusable” said Ben Katz, with Open San Diego, one of many activist groups who fought the city of San Diego on its proposed email policy, which called for emails one year or older to be deleted, over storage costs.
They claim all these emails are public record under state law, which calls for a minimum retention of 2 years.
But not everyone seems to agree.
A San Diego County spokesperson defended the county’s email retention policy of 60 days, stating that under its policy, not all county emails are considered public record, therefore these are “exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act,” said Michael Workman.
“Emails that constitute “official records” as defined in our policies must generally be kept for two or three years,” he added.
“Our basic response would be, save them all. It’s better to accidentally save an email about lunch plans, than to accidently delete an email about a key important subject,” stressed Katz.