National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Evans County (GA) BOE Emails Permanently Deleted

llOnGeorgia filed an Open Records Request in late June seeking the personnel file of former employee Sharon Threatte, documentation on employee salaries at the district office, and emails related to the pay of Sharon Threatte and the pay classification of district office employees. Superintendent Martin Waters quoted more than $11,000 in fees for said records and a complaint was filed with the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. That inquiry is still open and pending as the Attorney General’s Office has been in communication with Board Attorney Ron Hallman.

But the documents provided Wednesday show that an Atlanta-based attorney who filed an Open Records Request with the Evans County Board of Education cannot file a similar for the documents and emails because the emails no longer exist.

The Board of Education has implemented a new email server retention policy that only hosts emails for 180 days. The emails requested by AllOnGeorgia included a date range beginning January 1 and running through June 27, 2018. Emails currently on the server only date back to May 2018. The attorney has said he plans to follow up with the Evans County Board of Education to ensure that no emails outside of the 180 day window are deleted in the event of litigation.

The new letterhead for Open Records Requests responses from the Evans BOE has a disclaimer that indicates that “if payment is not made within 30 days, the request is considered null and void.” This was not the policy when AllOnGeorgia filed the Open Records Request in June, but it does illustrate that despite an open complaint with the state attorney general’s office, the Evans County Board of Education has not only closed the request by AllOnGeorgia, but has altered their policies to ensure the records requested are no longer available. (Read more…)