Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended his administration’s push to have a 90-day email purge policy, saying it was an effort to created a uniform system across the executive branch.

“As I said, we wanted a unified Senate, Assembly, executive, AG, comptroller, ideally,” Cuomo said. “It would make no sense to have one policy for the executive chamber, a different one for the agencies. That would be nonsensical.”

After mounting criticism from state lawmakers and good-government groups of the email policy, Cuomo’s office announced an open government forum on records retention.

Lawmakers are still pressuring Cuomo to abandon the policy completely, but Cuomo insisted today that records deemed “essential” would be kept.

“All records must be saved. For non-essential documents you can save them for as long as you want to save them,” Cuomo said. “But you have to save them. For non-essential documents that you don’t save, they’re then deleted after 90 days because we’re trying to get the garbage off the system for storage purposes.”

Still, open government advocates say some documents not deemed important today could be considered worth saving down the road, be it for historical purposes or unanticipated litigation.

Technology has advanced, too, that emails can be saved on servers with little trouble.

State lawmakers are pushing Cuomo to adapt a federal government-style retention policy of at least seven years.

Cuomo at a news conference also quibbled with referring to the effort as a way of deleting emails.

“It’s not a 90-day auto delete policy,” Cuomo said. “That’s misleading and unkind and inaccurate.”

Cuomo himself does not email and uses a PIN-to-PIN Blackberry messaging system that is not saved on a government server.

Asked why he doesn’t email, Cuomo said: “I don’t want to say I’m an old-fashioned telephone guy, but I am.”