Public Email communication must be preserved to ensure government accountability

I testified on behalf of Saint Paul STRONG  today regarding limiting email deletions in favor of a Bill introduced (HF 1185) at the Capitol.  Thank you to Don Gemberling from our Steering Committee for helping organize the effort and to Tom Erickson, a supporter of Saint Paul STRONG for their help and testimony. The Bill passed and now moves onto another committee in the House.  My comments were as follows:

I am John Mannillo.  I speak for Saint Paul STRONG, a nonpartisan group of citizens who believe the welfare of our communities are based on transparency and accountability of their Government.  Our elected officials and the departments they oversee, too often give us reason to distrust their actions and motivations.  In Saint Paul, the policy to delete email communications after 180 days, may be its most blatant example for lack of transparency and has resulted in loss of public trust.  Without trust, most any action taken by government will be suspect.  Unfortunately, this has been proven to be the case.

By allowing any City employee to unilaterally delete any email communication with only minimal training, we are allowing truth to be buried and history to be erased.  There will always be questions as to whether our elected officials are more concerned with their short tern political future, rather than that of long term good public policy.  How will they be accountable?  We should never enable the potential abuse of our trust.

John Mannillo

Saint Paul STRONG, Spokesperson