Chantell Taylor, director of the Colorado Ethics Watch, outlined three ways Colorado state and local government can show a commitment to transparency. These include implementing a policy for the retention of electronic records, adopting a fee waiver in the Colorado Open Records Act and setting maximum limits on fees charged for employee time spent retrieving public records.
As one of his first official acts, President Barack Obama issued an executive memorandum instructing members of his administration “to operate under principles of openness, transparency and of engaging citizens with their government.” There are a number of ways Colorado state and local government can follow suit and join the president in his commitment to an “unprecedented level of openness in government.”
To begin, the Colorado General Assembly should immediately adopt and implement a uniform policy for the members and their staff, setting minimum standards and guidelines for the retention of electronic records, including e-mail records in particular. Incredibly, there is currently no policy at all.
Instead, without any minimum requirements, members are encouraged to develop their own individual policies on retention of e-mails, make their own determinations as to what records are public, and regularly delete records that they think do not qualify as public.