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Governor Haley's Office Will Stop Deleting Emails

http://66.225.205.104/JR20111222.mp3

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has decided that her push for government transparency should also include her own emails. The governor has been criticized recently for a policy to delete many of those messages, making them inaccessible to open records requests. South Carolina - like many states - has a law that most government correspondence is subject to public scrutiny. But South Carolina Press Association President Bill Rogers says getting access to the emails of Governor Nikki Haley and her staff has been, "very frustrating because when reporters would ask the governor's office for email documents, she would say they were deleted. It was a serious problem." One such request led The State newspaper in Columbia to discover that Governor Haley's office has a habit of permanently deleting emails sent among staff, rather than archiving them for the public record. Earlier this month, The Post and Courier of Charleston obtained emails from the State Department of Health showing Haley's influence over a non-partisan committee on health care. The governor's office did not release those emails in a similar records request from the newspaper. The disparity caused even some of Haley's allies to condemn the apparent lack of transparency. The governor says her administration has retained thousands of records and correspondence, but admits room for more openness. "I'm really happy to see the governor has seen the light here and is hopefully setting the example for other state agencies to follow in preserving emails," says Rogers of the SC Press Association. Governor Haley's office says the new records policy will be ready in January and "will include retaining all records, including the governor's and staff email, so long as they are of long-term and enduring value."