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City looking at privacy issues surrounding emails

The city of Wilmington is reviewing its e-mail policy after the Wilmington Star News discovered nearly 40,000 e-mails to and from city and employees had been marked as "private" within the last year. State law says most e-mails sent and received by city employees and elected officials that pertain to city operations are public record. The primary exception is confidential e-mails that relate to personnel issues. Some of the e-mails that were marked "private" were about the annexation of Monkey Junction and the new convention center. Other private e-mails referred to more insignificant things like moving office furniture. "We don't get it right every time. The flip side is we can face legal action, if we allow something to be open that should be protected,” said City Public Information Officer Malissa Talbert. The city is looking into a way to help its staff properly filter what is, and what isn't private information. Just today, the Governor signed an executive order saying emails sent to and from state government accounts will be public record for ten years. Each employee must keep their e-mails for at least 24 hours so they can be backed up on tape, unless for some reason, they're clearly not business related.

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