Got questions about the inner workings of Boston City Hall? Soon you may be able to get an unprecedented peek inside those imposing walls -- just by logging onto your computer.
Click here to read a sampling of the deleted e-mails.
City officials said today they plan to scan all 5,018 emails deleted by top mayoral aide Michael J. Kineavy and make them available on the Internet.
The city's chief lawyer, William Sinnott, said the city plans to contract with an outside firm and hopes to have them online by next week.
The move came one day after city officials met with the state supervisor of public records, who works for Secretary of State William F. Galvin. Galvin said in an interview after the meeting that he had urged the city to post all the emails online for the public.
"We've strongly urged them to put the 5,000 on line so that people who want to see them can see them," Galvin said.
Galvin’s office had ordered the city to seize Kineavy’s hard drive and hire a computer forensics specialist to find the e-mails after the Globe reported two weeks ago that Kineavy routinely deleted e-mails in such a way that they were not saved on city backup servers. The report appeared after the newspaper requested six months’ worth of Kineavy’s e-mails, and city officials produced only 18 such messages.
State public records law requires municipal employees to save e-mail for at least two years, even when it has “no informational or evidential value.’’ Violations can result in fines up to $500 or prison sentences of up to one year.
In response to Galvin’s order, city officials hired computer forensics firm StoneTurn Group and then released 5,018 e-mails last week that the firm found by searching for e-mails that other city employees had exchanged with Kineavy. The e-mails did not include messages Kineavy exchanged solely with anyone outside City Hall. City officials said Friday that scouring Kineavy’s hard drive for those could cost $250,000.
The e-mails showed politics up close, warts and all. While not suggesting any illegal acivity, they opened a window into the inner workings of City Hall and again demonstrated that Kineavy, the mayor's top political operative, is instrumental at the city's nerve center, fielding matters large and small - from small-bore gripes about dog feces on South Boston sidewalks to dramatic complaints like the one alleging that police were endangering an informant's life by circulating confidential information.
A sampling of the messages can be seen in their entirety by clicking here.
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