Town governments are judged by how well they govern, and officials are often measured by how responsive and open they are. The Township of Denville in New Jersey is continuously working to be more responsive and helpful to its 16,000 citizens. Even a small township such as Denville, with some 125 municipal employees, has to provide secure access to its communications, and one of the most important elements there is email.
“We regularly provide emails as part of Open Public records requests,” explained John Ciardi, facilities manager for the Township.
This means that all messages must be stored safely, and organized for fast and easy retrieval. All that today is provided by GFI Archiver®.
“At the Township of Denville New Jersey we have been using GFI Archiver since 2009. It always performs flawlessly and competent tech support is available when needed,” said Mr. Ciardi. “We have looked into other others products and have not found a more economical way to archive our emails as effectively as GFI Archiver does.”
Arguably, nearly every business could use mail archiving. For others, there is a true and defined need. For the Township of Denville, there is an absolute requirement.
The township is run by a mayor, along with the Township Council, whose seven members serve four-year elected terms. As a public entity, there are rules to follow to ensure an open and transparent government. One rule is Open Pubic records. That means all mail must be preserved so it can be called upon when requested.
“We need to do email archiving in order to be able to comply with the New Jersey Open Public Records Act,” said Mr. Ciardi. “That’s the thing that we are most worried about. We tell them not to delete emails, but we don't know if they do. (With Archiver) if they can't find them, at least I know I have a copy.”
Under these rules, the township must preserve “anything that is a communication between a government employee and somebody on the outside – a written record and electronic – we can't distinguish between the two,” he added.
Public records requests come in all the time, most often from attorneys or other parties to a dispute, and the Township needs to be ready to meet those requests.
“There was an instance recently with a big project and at some point it went bad. One person says one thing, another says another thing, and our staffer says ‘neither said that’. We had to find everyone's emails and turn them over to the attorneys so they could figure it out,” Mr. Ciardi explained.
Other instances include disgruntled employees that were let go. “Their attorneys try to say there were emails sent saying this or that – and the attorneys request emails of a certain type. I go through their email in a normal fashion, but there is no way for me to know if anything has been deleted. So I look in Archiver and then I can get everything,” Mr. Ciardi said.
Archiver is critical in solving disputes, which is one of its most important attributes.
“I'll have someone say to me that they sent an email to somebody who was supposed to act on that email. That person who was supposed to act says ‘I never got that email’. They need to find out if the person did send it, and if the other person did receive it. I get asked to do that two or three times a year – just to keep a problem from escalating. That’s the most important use of (Archiver) for us,” Mr. Ciardi said.
Having all emails archived is a huge convenience. Mr. Ciardi uses Archiver to find misplaced mail. “I get 500 emails a day with spam mixed in. If I'm deleting from my phone and accidentally delete emails I don't want to delete, I go into Archiver® and look from there,” Mr. Ciardi explained. The same happens with end users who by policy come to Mr. Ciardi to retrieve their own missing mail.
Finding these messages is easy using the search function. “It kind of works like a web version of Outlook – nothing difficult about it,” he said.
The last thing Mr. Ciardi needs is another administrative burden, as he already has plenty on his plate, and is responsible for “all computers systems, servers, telephones, security cameras, card access bid specification writing and building maintenance.”
Fortunately GFI tools are pretty easy to manage and maintain. “Every once in a while there will be a little glitch. Just recently it stopped working for some unknown reason so we installed the most current update of the software and it brought everything around again. Every once in a while there's something that happens, but nothing serious and tech support is always able to get it working again without too much issue.”
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