How Long to Retain Local Government Electronic Mail?

Would an E-mail Archive Appliance Help?

Dallas County, Texas, is debating how long to store electronic mail. Some have proposed that each e-mail record be deleted after 90 days unless an employee specifically requested longer retention.

But others fear that such a practice would lead to the destruction of records needed for compliance with laws like the open records act and to legal risk if an employee makes a mistake.

The county says that a 90-day policy is tempting because the retention of e-mail is costly and clumsy under its existing storage system.

Those advancing the proposed 90-day policy say the county should keep only messages that employees have examined one-by-one and determined to be official county records. They point to Texas state guidelines that call for the long-term retention of only official records, not all electronic mail. Hence, they believe good records management requires each employee to invest considerable time and attention in the process of reviewing individual records . . . Continue Reading


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