Just like the rest of us, government officials and employees in Colorado conduct much of their official business online nowadays via emails, texts and social media.
But there is a big difference between their emails and the emails of those of us in the private sector: Much, if not most, of their business happens to be our business, especially if it involves the expenditure of public funds.
As we’ve seen fairly often recently, the electronic communications of those in government can be quite revealing.
We know about the New Jersey “Bridgegate” scandal, for instance, thanks to emails that Gov. Chris Christie’s administration initially said didn’t exist. In Colorado, hundreds of email and text messages obtained by The Gazette significantly bolstered allegations that El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa had been sexually involved with female subordinates for years.
The whereabouts of government emails often becomes the story, as with the lost electronic communications of former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner and the deleted emails of a Colorado Division of Insurance bureaucrat.
Earlier this month, the Colorado Springs Independent exposed how Colorado Springs’ email retention policy allows the city to “unilaterally (exempt) itself from the spirit of state-mandated transparency.”
In a new five-page white paper, CFOIC President Steve Zansberg answers questions about how the electronic communications of public employees are treated under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA).
Download “New Technologies Post New Challenges: As the Volume of Public Records Increases, Access Diminishes” by Steven D. Zansberg.
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