Monday, September 14, 2009


More questions were raised by a follow-up story in the Boston Globe that described the procedures that Michael Kineavy, chief of policy and planning in the administration of Mayor Thomas Menino, used to delete nearly all his emails over one particular six-month period, in apparent violation of the state's Public Records Law:
[Boston Corporate Counsel Bill] Sinnott said that all e-mails are supposed to be backed up in the city’s computer systems, but a glitch, which he said the city was fixing, allowed users to delete messages and then empty a “deleted items folder,’’ thus circumventing the nightly backup process...

Kineavy told [city officials] that he deletes all his e-mail on a daily basis and does not allow his e-mail to be saved on city backup computers, according to officials.
Note how Kineavy was not just deleting emails in his email application's inbox -- he was also going into the "deleted items folder" (or the "trash folder") to delete those backed-up versions of the emails.

And, on top of that, Kineavy was so systematic that he managed to delete all but 18 emails over that six month period so that they would not appear in the automated, nightly backups made of city hall computers. That deletion record is impressive: Kineavy must have had an incredible attention to detail, because he deleted both his inbox and his trash folder regularly and thoroughly at the end of each day before he left work for home, otherwise one or the other would have appeared in the backups.

I dub this scandal "Delete-Delete-Gate," since the issue is not just Kineavy deleting emails but then deleting them from his trash folder so that they would not be archived in city hall backups.

The Boston Herald is playing second fiddle catch-up on the story, missing how Kineavy also deleted "deleted items folder" content:
In an effort to tidy his inbox, Kineavy was deleting his e-mails every day before he left work, unaware that those e-mails were gone for good, the city insists. Until the Globe’s request, the city archive system didn’t copy records until well after the end of business each day.
Peculiarly, WBUR's Morning Edition today reported that city officials say that the deletion of emails was "unintentional."

Calling delete and then delete again unintentional? That explanation does not pass the sniff test. I smell a stinker here.

Image of "Miscalculation" by .::HIMU:: provided through a Creative Commons license.

1 comment:

JohnT said...

That is why Menino does not use email. Rule #1, never leave a paper trail.