Menino's rivals slam City Hall aides' deletion of emails

Two of Mayor Thomas Menino's rivals are pouncing on a news report that says City Hall officials have been potentially violating the state's public records law through the regular deletion their emails.

The Boston Globe reported on Sunday that Michael Kineavy, a top Menino aide, deletes his emails every day. The Globe received 18 emails after the paper had requested for copies of emails sent to Kineavy and from him.

A Menino spokeswoman dismissed the story as "much ado about nothing," saying there was a "computer oversight in the system" which has been repaired.

Both City Councillors At-Large and mayoral candidates Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon are calling the actions are an abuse of power. Yoon aides have started referring to the story as "DeleteGate."

"The actions of Kineavy, which he has not denied, are illegal, outrageous and—coming as they do during an active federal criminal probe into allegations of public corruption in Boston—point to nothing less than a cover-up at the highest levels of the Menino administration," Flaherty campaign manager Jon Romano wrote in an email to supporters. "The wholesale destruction of thousands of public records by top officials in the mayor’s inner circle are calculated violations of the law on a massive scale and underscore the culture of dishonesty and corruption which pervades the Menino administration."

Flaherty, Yoon and South Ender Kevin McCrea are holding a Monday press conference at 10:15 a.m. in front of City Hall to announce he will ask the state attorney general and the Suffolk County district attorney to launch a criminal investigation.

Yoon's campaign sent out a fundraising email to supporters, pointing to the Globe article, along with a companion piece on City Hall aides' work in the neighborhoods, as a "must read."

"This is an unacceptable practice from our city government," wrote Yoon strategist Jim Spencer. "But we can change this - and we can change it now."

Menino press secretary Dorothy Joyce said statements from the Flaherty and Yoon camps are "purely political."

There was a "flaw in the system" when it came to backing up city worker emails, and it was "fixed immediately," she said.

Joyce said Globe reporters received 10,000 pages of documents - mostly emails of Jack Kelly, another City Hall aide - and were charged $2,500. With no evidence found of wrongdoing by City Hall aides, "they're frustrated," she said of the Globe.

The candidates for mayor are set to face off Monday evening at a 7 p.m. forum at the Boston Architectural College. The forum is sponsored by the Ward 4 and Ward 5 Democratic Committees and will be moderated by Boston Phoenix political reporter David Bernstein.

UPDATE: Edited to add all three -- Flaherty, Yoon and McCrea -- will be at the morning presser.