Orange County officials, without public discussion, approved a controversial new policy last week allowing immediate destruction of public records, despite state law and a court ruling saying they must be kept for two years.
The updated rules, which supervisors approved on a 4-0 vote Sept. 10, lets officials immediately destroy records they believe are not “required by law or County policy to be filed and preserved,” without imaging or copying them as state law mandates before destroying records less than two years old.
It also says officials “may” have to keep certain “communications held on private devices and accounts,” but doesn’t say what kinds of communications must be kept or for how long. The California Supreme Court has ruled that government communications through private devices and accounts are public records, though the policy doesn’t require these records to be preserved.
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