Nearly a year ago, I reported on an ECM story, close to home, and of a high profile. Last September, a top aide to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino was cited for deleting hundreds of e-mails - subject to legal discovery - in violation of laws regulating public records. At the time Menino explained - whoops it was caused by a "glitch". As I reported back in September 2009, thanks to ECM technology (i.e. forensics), the e-mails were recovered.
Well, Massachusetts Attorney General, Martha Coakley has dropped any and all charges against the aide, stating that he did not willfully destroy the hundreds of records. Apparently Coakley - like Menino believes the "glitch" theory.
No back-ups? No automated records management and e-mail management system? No legal hold technology? It is amazing that in this day and age, our governments can still go without mainstream ECM technology. It was found that City Hall protocol instructs employees to delete their e-mails daily - no matter the content and context? Hmmm? I am sorry your honor but our company's protocol requires us to delete all of our records daily. We thought there was a back-up - guess not? Really? No one in city hall understood that chief Michael Kineavy's emails are supposed to be saved as public record?
Maybe, given the fundamental nature and criticality of electronic content to government and society at large, we should require our civil servants to have at least a high level working knowledge of ECM. The city claims to have subsequently invested in new technology, but are they using it properly? I know where my city could get some good education and advice :). Hey Martha and Mayor Menino - we are right next door.