- Rich Klein
County Attorney McGuire Using Personal Email Address For Attorney Registration With OCA
Updated: Nov 30, 2022
Former County Court Judge Acknowledges That Notifications About Case Filings Go To His Yahoo Account
Document Obtained By The SullivanTimes on 11/30 Shows Personal Email on Court Filing
(Story updated at 11:15 am Wednesday, November 30, 2022)
MONTICELLO - County Attorney Michael F. McGuire, who is registered with the Office of Court Administration (OCA) under a personal email address, acknowledged to The SullivanTimes late Tuesday and early Wednesday that he uses a Yahoo email account to receive electronic case filing notifications on behalf of the county.
McGuire said that he gets a notification on his personal email address "either that a document has been filed or that a court appearance has been set that links to your calendar. There are NO actual documents, no confidential information only publicly-available information "a motion has been filed” or you have a court date. The attorney then logs into their secure account and is able to view documents. They are not sent to the email. "
Sample of a notification sent to County Attorney Michael McGuire's personal email address that's a publicly-available record online.
The SullivanTimes on Tuesday afternoon first reached to McGuire to ask why he used his personal email address in the registration form - that also lists the Government Center address at 100 North Street in Monticello and his direct phone number in the County Attorney's Office.
Late Tuesday, he said in an email response:
"Because that was my address when I last filed a Registration and a Registration travels with the individual so changes of employment or business email could result in failure to receive notices. Not really sure, other than idle interest, why that would be of any interest to anyone."
(The last time McGuire updated his attorney registration, according to the OCA, was in April 2022, nearly two years after he was hired as County Attorney. Attorneys are required by the Office of Court Administration to update their contact information every two years).
When asked in a follow up question late Tuesday night if he uses his personal email address to conduct any County business, McGuire added:
"My ECF (Electronic Case Filing) address is my personal email so much of my case information goes to there. I would say that the overwhelming majority of my email goes to my county email address...but I will never say always and will never say never. "
The County Attorney's Office handles confidential information that could include such items as medical records.
And, Yahoo - the email service used by McGuire - was the target of one of the largest hacks in Internet history, when it was struck multiple times from 2012 through 2016.
McGuire added that he does "not communicate much by email other than for business and work about 14 hours everyday" and that "most of my communication is through my work email but I do keep my personal email personal for issues like ECF and Attorney registration since the county does not pay my registration fees or any of the CLE (Continuing Legal Education) fees there would be no reason to use county email for those issues."
In a preliminary search by The SullivanTimes of the County's Administrative Code and Employee Handbook, neither mentions any prohibition of the use of personal email addresses by officials to conduct county business. However, there is a mention that official email accounts must be used only for county business.
McGuire was first suspended without pay and later removed from the bench in August 2020 by the New York Court of Appeals following an investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. The Commission recommended that McGuire be removed from the bench in a report made public on March 28, 2020.
As part of that investigation, the Commission said that McGuire "improperly invoked his judicial title by using it in in his personal email address “judgemcguire@” which he used for personal matters."
Despite the removal by the Court of Appeals, County Legislature Chair Rob Doherty appointed him to the county attorney position in May 2020. McGuire's wife, Corrine, also won an administrative job in which there were 11 civil service applicants , around the same time with Sheriff Michael Schiff (who controls the Republican Party in Sullivan)