The Washington Post reports that D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty repealed his own executive order, which called for government e-mail messages to be deleted after six months. The mayor’s reversal comes in the wake of an outcry from District Council members, the public and the press about the sudden urge to purge electronic mail.
Why the mayor felt the need for a special e-mail deletion policy is unclear. Under the D.C. Code, the form of government communications has no bearing on their status as public records. The law applies to all records, "regardless of physical form" and expressly includes "information stored in an electronic format." D.C. Code Ann. § 2-502(18). Consequently, e-mail or not, these government records should be subject to the same records retention schedules as every other document "prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by" the District. Id.