NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Anyone can read the emails of county employees at a desktop computer in the New Hanover County government center, but what is on that computer has changed recently.
Less than 200 unread emails were available on the computer as of Monday afternoon just after 1:00. A week ago there were thousands of emails.
Carey Ricks, public affairs manager for the county, said a new policy has added a one-day delay to the public server. The change took effect Monday and removed all emails that were more than a few days old.
Those older emails are not accessible on the computer but Ricks said they are still available to the public upon request.
"It's simply a change in the timing of when that material is provided in that one, particular terminal," she said.
The county, like other local governments, offers the public computer as a courtesy for easy access to the public records.
Ricks said the delayed upload is meant to give county employees time to read their e-mails.
"Just to give the department heads an opportunity to actually read the material and become more familiar with the material," she said.
The system is updated every day at noon with the emails from the day before. So Monday's emails will be on the desktop by Tuesday at noon.
Ricks said the county is still very much in compliance with the state's public records law, and anyone is welcome to request emails before they're uploaded to the server. She said there is not a specific incident that resulted in the change..
"We're just responding to the way information is shared instantaneously," she said.
Ricks said Monday that the policy change does not reflect an intention of closing the public computer.
"We don't intend to get away from that," she said.
Local governments that offer public email terminals with real time updates includes, but is not limited to:
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