Unbelievably, the state of Colorado is the only Google email user that’s ever run out of space. Actually, given the propensity of government to screw things up in ways not thought possible, believe it. According to a new report and plea from the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and Todd Shepherd, when the state government upgraded its email system in 2012, it upgraded to a Google-based email system, but has now maxed it out.
How? We have no idea.
But, here’s the kicker, email retention is so limited that some are deleting emails within 90 days. An explanation:
State law doesn’t specify a retention time period for emails; it merely requires that state agencies maintain a records management program, which vary according to agency. With no uniform state policy on mandatory retention, an employee could immediately wipe out an electronic “paper trail” – by deleting an email from the trash bin – and that email is not recoverable even by supervisors.
But, isn’t this boring wonky nonsense? The reason this matters is because some of the best political stories over the past few years have come from emails uncovered via CORA requests. Here’s just a few:
- Emails that revealed that Team Udall tried to bully the Department of Insurance Staff into changing the number of insurance cancellations. Of course, when Todd Shepherd, who broke the story, went back for more emails, he found none – not.a.single.one. The DOI shrugged – those in charge shrugged noting that they must have been deleted.
- Emails that showed that A.P. U.S. History protests in Jefferson County were actually planned in advance of the controversial proposal and in response to a pay-for-performance plan, which undermines the union’s raison d’etre, not the proposal.
- Emails that proved Super Mario (Mario Carrera), who served on the reapportionment committee, was lying about differing deadlines for Republicans and Democrats to submit reapportionment plans.
- Emails that showed Obama lied about Abound Solar, a failed company backed by Democratic funder Pat Stryker that received millions in government grants.