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David Thornburgh, Executive Director of the government watchdog group, Committee of Seventy, spoke to Solomon Jones about the Mayor deleting text messages after reported that the mayor deleted years worth of text messages that could be considered public records. reported that Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who has long eschewed a city-issued cell phone in favor of his personal cell phone, “wasn’t aware that he needed to retain texts on his personal device,” according to his spokesperson, Deana Gamble. “He habitually deletes items on his phone to clear space.”

Habit or not, the move may violate state open records laws. Any communication — electronic or paper — as it relates to city business is subject to the state’s Right-to-Know Law and considered a public record. And those records are intended to be preserved to help citizens see and understand how public officials govern and tax dollars are spent.

Alex Abdo, an open records expert and advocate, called the mayor’s deletion of text messages “extremely troubling.”

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