Civic News
Ethics / Municipal government / Software

Philadelphia says it deletes employee emails after 50 days. Here’s why

The city says it's a storage issue. Why does it matter? Transparency. Workflow.

City Hall. (Photo by Flickr user Michlt, used under a Creative Commons license)

It’s policy for the City of Philadelphia to delete employee emails after 50 days, unless the employee saves them, according to a NewsWorks report. The policy is in place because it’s expensive to store email, City Solicitor Shelley Smith said.

Philly city employees start out with 250MB of storage. A Gmail business account starts you with 30GB. (The City of Pittsburgh has used Gmail since 2011 and doesn’t automatically delete any of its employees’ emails, NewsWorks reported.)

Why does it matter? Transparency.

If a citizen files a request to see an employee’s emails, she won’t have access to anything older than 50 days, unless the employee chose to save it. Emails have been the center of numerous government controversies in the past few years.

It also affects workflow at the city, said City Council staffer Jennifer Kates.

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Though, in the NewsWorks report,┬áSmith didn’t seem to be considering the possibility of moving city email to the cloud, it wouldn’t be that far-fetched. Chief Innovation Officer Adel Ebeid has said he wants to move as much as he can to the cloud.

Read the full story on NewsWorks
Companies: City of Philadelphia
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