His second official act as governor was preserving the emails of former Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s administration, but Gov. Dannel Malloy doesn’t believe the emails his staff sent back and forth during the transition have to be preserved.
“I think anything on a state server should be retained,” Malloy opined Thursday afternoon. “You know listen, I believe in open and transparent government and a lot of people were using their personal computers to do work on behalf of the people of the state of Connecticut.“
Andrew McDonald, Malloy’s chief legal counsel, said Thursday that he asked the Freedom of Information Commission what needed to be done with communications during the transition.
“The Freedom of Information Act is applicable to state agencies and departments and before Governor Malloy was sworn in the transition didn’t qualify as a state agency,” McDonald said.
That’s despite the fact that the state spent about $100,000 on office equipment and about $17,600 on salaries for some of the transition staff during the approximately two month transition period.
“State business does not include the transition,“ Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s senior advisor said Thursday. “There’s personal business then there’s state business.”
He assured reporters that big portions of what was discussed during the transition will not only be retained, but made public.
He said the money the state gave the transition team, which relied on their personal email accounts for communication, was used for a little bit of infrastructure. He said the previous administration was reluctant to give out ct.gov email addresses.
Before heading into a breakfast meeting with business leaders Friday, Malloy reiterated his position on the retention of emails by his transition team.
“I think any records that I have you can have,” Malloy said. “There are many people who worked on transition using their own communication devices, but anything I have you’ll be more than welcome to.”
“It wasn’t a government,” Malloy said. “There’s FOI. It applies to people in government.”
Malloy said Thursday that the media aren’t likely to turn up many emails from him personally because of his learning disabilities.
Brian Lockhart of the Stamford Advocate was able to get the Freedom of Information Commission on the phone to confirm Malloy’s position on the transition emails.
According to Lockhart’s report Friday the Malloy administration is correct about not having to make the emails available to the public, however, if state resources were involved in creating the content in those emails then the public may have a case to make.