Earlier this month, we spoke with Metro Council Member Ed Kindall about the Sip-N-Paint party that was held in his district. During that phone call, CM Kindall made a comment in passing about his official metro government email address, and how he hadn’t checked it in months because he was ‘living in a hotel’ due to a house fire. He told Scoop: Nashville that he doesn’t read email sent to his government email address anyway, because it’s all just “thousands of for or against somethings.” The remark stood out so much at the time, I contemporaneously tweeted about it, without revealing his name, until I had spoken with Metro IT:
#quote: "oh, my metro .gov email? i don't even read that, all it is, is thousands of for or against somethings, i rarely ever check that, let me give you my real email"
-Current #MetroCouncil member, today.
— Jason Steen (@jasonashville) February 13, 2019
After confirming with Metro officials that his email was indeed available for him to check, no matter his location, via phone or Outlook Web Access, a records request was submitted the same day, requesting how many times his account accessed in the previous 12 months, and how many emails were in the account, and unread. Here’s the response received from Metro:
As of 02/25/2019, Council Member Ed Kindall had 9,388 unread emails in his government inbox, or 96.6% of all his emails. Kindall did reach out via phone after he was notified of the records request, and attempted to explain that since living in a hotel due to a house fire last year, he simply could not access his government email, even though Metro IT disagrees. At the first council meeting after the records request, Kindall spoke during the announcements period, asking people to use his AOL email address to contact him, as he stated he still could not access his Metro government email. The number of emails read or unread in his AOL inbox are unknown, and that figure isn’t subject to public records inquiry, nor would it be accurate, as it’s also his personal account.
While his private account is subject to a specific open records inquiry if it’s used to conduct official business, there’s nothing preventing Kindall from deleting emails, or simply not retaining them for the period of time required by law, or even being removed by the provider to maintain mailbox size guidelines.
Metro IT confirms there’s nothing preventing Ed Kindall from accessing his email, if he wants to check it.