On May 23, 2011, the Franklin Township (Somerset County) Fire District No. 1 Board of Commissioners passed a comprehensive e-mail usage policy that might serve as a model for public bodies across New Jersey. The policy, which is on-line here, provides each elected and other Board official with a District e-mail account and requires officials to use that account for official business. Officials who receive official e-mails on their personal e-mail accounts are required to “immediately copy the e-mail together with all attachments to their official District e-mail address [and notify the sender] that all future correspondence and e-mails pertaining to [official business] must be sent to their official District e-mail address.”

The policy also prohibits officials from using e-mail to “correspond back and forth with a majority of the Board of Commissioners . . . unless such e-mail is strictly informational in purpose.” It also prohibits officials from attempting to “permanently delete any information or e-mails that are send to the District e-mail account.”

Interested citizens may wish to forward the above link to their elected public bodies and request them to adopt a similar e-mail policy.

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]