Gov. Haley Barbour record retention policies deemed “prehistoric”

Admittedly, by lowly me. But it got quoted in a real newspaper.

According to the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger, Barbour e-mails come at high cost. Haley Barbour is the Republican governor of Mississippi.

When reporter Chris Joyner asked for 4 days of e-mail from the governor’s office, he was told it would cost $14,170.48.

See how this compares to other governors.

The $14,170.48 for four days of e-mail includes an out-of-town computer consultant at $5,400 and outside legal counsel review, $7,500. It’s that computer consultant that led me to describe the policy as “prehistoric”. Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon for government agencies to ask for money to hire a computer consultant to re-program their archives for records response when FOIA requestors asked for electronic documents.

$14,000 might (or might not) be an accurate reflection of how much it would cost Barbour’s office to deliver the e-mails. But, if so, that’s a huge problem, because it certainly puts the cost of obtaining these important historical records out of the reach of practically anyone. Or, as Ronnie Agnew, executive editor of the Clarion-Ledger says,

“It’s an insult to us and to taxpayers to suggest that such a basic use of technology is worth the cost of a good, mid-priced car.”

In other governors-acting-badly news, several media organizations in North Carolina today launched a lawsuit against Gov. Mike Easley over the deletion of official e-mails.

Governors! Straighten up and fly right!

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