The content of e-mail or other electronic records determines whether they are subject to release as public records. Personal records are not subject to release. Transitory messages, those that do not set policy, establish guidelines or procedures, document agency business, certify a transaction, or become a receipt, are considered non-records and may be deleted when no longer administratively useful.

For e-mail messages that are public records, the appropriate records retention schedule must be applied. These guidelines were set forth in the “Policy on Defining Information Transmitted via E-mail as a Public Record.”

Two recent cases required e-mail to be released under the open records law. Gov. Jim Gibbons was ordered to turn over e-mail messages requested by the Reno Gazette-Journal. Of the 104 messages requested, the judge determined 98 fell within the transitory or privileged categories that did not require release.

Also, e-mail of the trustees of the Clark County School Board was held to be a public record. Gray v. Clark County School District, No. 53391, Nev. Sup. Ct.