Sarah Palin is always keen to talk about open and transparent government, indeed it was one of the main focal points of her campaign when she ran for the office of Governor in Alaska. Of course, she continues to talk the transparency talk now that the campaign has ramped up a notch or three to Presidential level. But some are asking with increasing urgency if Palin can actually walk the walk.
Especially considering the whole hidden email debate that has raged ever since the Palin Yahoo webmail account was hacked. With emails coming from firstname.lastname@example.org with subjects such as 'Court of Appeals Nominations' amongst those revealed, it is hardly surprising that questions are being asked as to just how open Palin is being.
Now a state judge in Alaska has ordered Palin to ensure that the contents of that account are preserved for the public record. And, of course, Palin is only too happy to oblige.
So, how much might it cost if you wanted to exercise your right to access an email or two? The answer is more than you would expect. According to the Office of the Alaska Governor, the cost will be $960.31 to search an employee's email account, plus the 10 cents for every sheet of paper used as the office cannot apparently provide copies of electronic mail, er, electronically.
The figure is based upon it taking six hours for a programmer, charged at $73.87 per hour, to compile the email for a single employee. Oh, plus an additional two hours for security checks. Not forgetting the other five hours to do a keyword search for the person requesting the documents.
Do they not have some kind of enterprise search system in place? Most organizations can rustle up an email history of an employee in about 5 minutes flat and that would include printing it out and licking the stamp for the envelope. Of course, that is nonsense. Most organizations would simply email the archive to the person requesting it, suitably encrypted of course, so knocking another minute or two off the total time.
In another odd twist of events, Palin's office would appear to be unable to honor any such public record email requests until November 17th which just happens to be well after the nation votes in the Presidential election.