Under a policy set by Gov. Mike Easley, state workers can trash their own e-mail.
The policy allows users to determine themselves if an e-mail has "no administrative value." Easley's legal counsel, Andrew Vanore Jr., said this week that an e-mail's value may expire immediately if the message's sender or recipient determines it is no longer needed.
Amanda Martin, an attorney for the N.C. Press Association, challenged that claim.
"I do not believe that this policy gives public employees unfettered discretion to destroy documents at their personal whim," she said.
State Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett sent an e-mail to about 9,500 DOT employees this week restating the policy and telling them they can delete e-mail when they want.
A review of e-mail retained by DOT spokesman Ernie Seneca showed that he has been routinely deleting messages that would be of public interest, including weekly status reports from top officials and schedules of whom he has spoken with on recent issues. (N&O)