§ 2-99. Electronic records and e-mail  

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  • (a) [Applicability; emails of a personal nature.] This policy applies to any e-mail created, received, retained, used, or disposed of using the city e-mail system. This policy does not supersede any state or federal laws, or any other government policies regarding confidentiality, information dissemination, or standards of conduct. Generally, e-mail utilizing the city's email system or city-owned or city-leased computers or telecommunications equipment should be used only for legitimate government business. However, brief and occasional e-mail messages of a personal nature may be sent and received if the following conditions are satisfied:

    (1) Personal use of e-mail is a privilege, not a right.

    (2) The use of e-mail to violate this, or any other city policies or directives is prohibited.

    (3) Any employee who violates this policy or uses the city e-mail system for improper purposes shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

    (4) In addition, violations of this policy may be referred for criminal prosecution, where appropriate.

    (5) City management reserves and intends to exercise the right to review, audit, intercept, access, and disclose all e-mails created, received, or sent over the city's e-mail system for any purpose, upon concurrence of the city manager and the city attorney, or their respective designates. The contents of e-mail, properly obtained for legitimate business purposes, may be disclosed within the city without the permission of the employee.

    (6) Recorded e-mail messages are the property of the city, and are not the property of the employee. Thus, these e-mails are subject to the requirements of the Texas Public Information Act and the laws applicable to state records retention.

    (7) Personal e-mail should not impede the conduct of government business. Only incidental amounts of employee time (time periods comparable to reasonable coffee breaks during the day) should be used to attend to personal matters.

    (8) Racist, sexist, threatening, or otherwise objectionable language is strictly prohibited. Among those which are considered objectionable are any messages which contain sexual implications, racial slurs, gender-specific comments, or any other comment that offensively addresses someone's age, religious beliefs, national origin, or disability.

    (9) City e-mail may not be used for any personal monetary interests or gain. Employees should not subscribe to mailing lists or mail services strictly for personal use.

    (b) Retention requirements. The city's records retention schedules provides descriptions of city government records and the retention period for each type of record. For e-mails, it is the content and function of an e-mail message which determines its retention period. E-mail generally falls into two (2) common record series categories. These are:

    (1) Administrative. Correspondence and internal memoranda pertaining to or arising from routine administration or operation of the policies, programs, services, and projects of a local government. Retention: One (1) year.

    (2) Routine. Correspondence and internal memoranda such as letters of transmittal, requests for publications, internal meeting notice and similar routine matters. Retention: After purpose of record is not longer deemed administratively valuable.

    (c) User responsibilities. It is the responsibility of the user of the e-mail system, with guidance and training from the records management officer, to manage e-mail messages according to the government's established retention periods. It is the sender's responsibility and/or recipient of e-mail messages (based upon the function of the e-mail) within the city's e-mail system and recipients of messages from outside the city to retain the messages for the approved retention period. Names of sender, recipient, date/time of the message, as well as any attachments must be retained with the message. Except for listserv mailing services, distribution lists must be able to identify the sender and recipient of the message.

    (d) Scope of policy. This policy applies to any electronic mail messages created, received, retained, used, or disposed of using the city electronic mail system; and any electronic mail messages created, received, retained, used, or disposed of on private e-mail providers (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) using city-owned or employee-owned personal home computers (provided the content of said electronic mail message constitutes a city government record).

    (e) Deletion of electronic mail.

    (1) Deletion of e-mail messages and attachments are governed by the applicable records retention schedules maintained by the city secretary and V.T.C.A., Local Government Code § 202.001, as amended. All employees using the city's e-mail system are charged with the responsibility of knowing and following these retention schedules. All city employees are to refrain from deleting any e-mail message or attachment until they have verified that such deletions are appropriate to, and do not conflict with, these records retention schedules.

    (2) Electronic records scheduled for destruction shall be disposed of in a manner that ensures protection of any confidential information. Magnetic storage media previously used for electronic records containing confidential information shall not be reused if the previously recorded information can be compromised by reuse in anyway.

    (f) Training. In cooperation with the city technology services supervisor, the records management officer will ensure that appropriate training is made available for staff. All employees will be required to participate in the training intended to cover the following areas on an annual basis: Operation and care of equipment, software usage, e-mail creation, content management; storing and filing structures; naming conventions; retrievals; final disposition, policies and procedures, relevant laws/rules.

(Ord. No. 12-037, § 2, 7-26-12)