Brunswick County pulls plug on public email server

Brunswick County pulls plug on public email server
As part of Sunshine Week, several local news outlets audited the use of private email for public business. (Source: Raycom Media)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Brunswick County has pulled the plug on a public email server that allowed citizens and the media to keep up to speed with the workings of government.

Under North Carolina general statutes, most emails are considered public record and are available for public inspection. The law does not require government to make emails accessible on public terminals, however, servers have been available for years in many locations, including New Hanover County, the cities of Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and until this week in Bolivia.

Brunswick County Public Information Officer Amanda Hutcheson said County Manager Ann Hardy made the final decision this week after a long deliberation.

"That is something we have been looking at for awhile," Amanda Hutcheson said. "It had been increasingly burdensome to maintain as the use of email has grown."

The timing of this move is interesting though, as the terminal was discontinued the day after county economic development director Michael DiTullo resigned his position.  DiTullo had only been on the job for a few months after the county created the economic development commission in 2015.

According to a report this week in the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, DiTullo confirmed that Brunswick County was in the running for a tire manufacturing facility.  In an interview Thursday, Representative Frank Iler said that DiTullo resigned after releasing that information about the potential job-creating project.

Hutcheson said she "can't get into it more than that," when asked if the discontinuation of the public email server was tied to DiTullo's resignation.

The email terminal had been available to the public since 2010.

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