When Orange County supervisors discuss emails and text messaging during their board meeting Tuesday, the conversation should hinge how electronic communications are treated under the state’s record retention and public records laws.

As the OC Register reported, Supervisor Bill Campbell said that BlackBerry communications between him and his staff during public meetings were “privileged communications.”

“I was under the impression that it’s [email is] considered to be work product and not available to the public,” Campbell said.

However, attorneys from the First Amendment advocacy group Californians Aware argue that most emails, with the exception of non-business-related communications, are public records.

The group has already threatened two cities with a court order and has vowed to fight cities’ email destruction policies.

The discussion Tuesday should provide at least some answers to how the county handles electronic communications during public meetings. We’re keeping track of this issue and will let you know what happens.


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