Disappearing Emails?

monkey-557586__340There’s another Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) scandal brewing – potentially.  Apparently the FKAA’s  Technical Services Manager sent around an email saying that all emails that haven’t been accessed in one year will be deleted.  Here’s the story at KeysNews.com.

FKAA’s attorney, Robert Feldman, had this to say in response:

“Our IT department is cleaning up our servers, but we have everything archived. We are not destroying emails,” Feldman said.

He followed that up with this even stronger statement:

“We do now and will continue to retain every document, every email, and every record,” Feldman said.

As we know, the FKAA says things that turn out not to be true.  There’s really no way to tell whether they actually are deleting emails or not.  I found this bit of the newspaper article very encouraging.

Concerned employees forwarded the emails to The Citizen, which appear to show that the FKAA did not intend to retain any emails or documents for more than a year, unless the employee specifically requested that it be kept. Feldman specifically denied that this is the case.

The FKAA has a well-earned reputation as a very sleazy outfit, but there are always people who want to do the right thing.  This link is for them.  You never know when the info might come in handy.  Besides whistle-blowing is becoming quite lucrative these days.

When you actually work at a government agency in Florida, there are some practical matters to be considered when it comes to records retention.  For one thing, you need to have space to keep all these records.  Emails don’t take up much physical space, of course, but can take up a lot of space on the server.  So I understand that Technical Services staff may be struggling with that.

Here is another practical consideration.  Retention requirements vary from subject to subject and document to document.  For instance, a press release has to be kept for 90 days unless it has some historical value.  Records pertaining to a structure must be kept for the life of that structure.  The requirements for bid documents vary depending on the situation.  Rather than combing through all these documents and making a decision on each, it’s easier just to keep everything.  According to Feldman, that seems to be FKAA’s strategy.

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