Not only did it prohibit state workers from using their state e-mail address for personal use while on company time, it also prohibited accessing private e-mail accounts on the Internet.
State workers were allowed, however, to read e-mails from their children's teachers or exchange e-mail messages with co-workers to plan social events, such as a baby shower or retirement party. (source: Journal Inquirer)
This rule followed a scandal involving Veterans Affairs employees. It's reasonable to expect that government employees not misuse state resources. Focusing, however, on the minutia of what emails that they can and can't read and send is simply ridiculous. The policy exists simply because computer use is easier to track. And tracking computer use as a measure of productivity is the wrong thing to focus on. Fortunately, Governor Rell stepped in and clarified the policy to a degree:
On Thursday afternoon Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced that the e-mail policy for state employees would change to allow them to send and receive messages from their workstation to deployed relatives in the military ... "Separation due to military service is difficult on everyone, and we want to do all we can to support our troops and their families," Rell said in making the announcement. "This change will allow those who are bravely serving overseas to stay in touch with their loved ones."This change does not go far enough. In an age when multi-tasking dominates the information technology productivity gains, it's time that bureaucrats stop looking for ways to treat their employees like lab rats, and focus on the performance of the job and service to the public. It is counter-intuitive for government officials to bemoan the state of the social networks that bind communities and then create an employment environment that seeks to cut off interaction between families.
Under the policy change, employees can now read and send e-mails to immediate family members serving overseas during their lunch periods and other breaks after first notifying supervisors. (source: Journal Inquirer)
The Journal Inquirer, You've got mail - and it's OK: Rell changes policy so state employees can send e-mail to deployed relatives in military, by Kym Soper 11/17/06