FOIA Opinions by Topic
Opinions by topic: Opinions Relating to Meetings
(List all topics)
- Hudson v. Pittsylvania County (3/29/2013): U.S. Federal District Judge issues permanent injunction against Pittsylvania Board of Supervisors barring the public body from opening meetings with prayers associated with any one religion.
- FOI Advisory Opinion AO-02-13 (3/20/2013): FOIA is silent regarding the logistics of holding a public meeting. In a situation where the meeting room lacks the capacity to accommodate all those who wish to attend, the best practice is to move to a larger venue and use technology to increase public access, when possible.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-12 (10/26/2012): Subsection F of § 2.2-3707 requires that agenda packets be made available for public inspection at the same time they are furnished to members of the public body
- Hill v. Fairfax County School Board (6/7/2012): Supreme Court rules exchange of emails is not a meeting triggering FOIA's requirements.
- Attorney General Opinion 12-9-11 (12/9/2011): AG reviews 4th Circuit opinions that place limits on when and how sectarian prayers can be invoked at public meetings.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-11 (10/17/2011): A rescue squad which is a town department is subject to FOIA for records purposes, but is not subject to the open meetings requirements of FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-10 (7/14/2010): FOIA provides exemptions from mandatory disclosure for certain records related to closed meetings. However, FOIA does not address whether a mayor may demand that at the conclusion of a closed meeting members of a local governing body give to the mayor any documents distributed or notes taken during the closed meeting.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-10 (3/17/2010): A motion to convene a closed meeting must identify the subject of the meeting, the purpose of the meeting, and cite an applicable exemption from the open meeting requirements. In order to avoid confusion and misunderstanding, the preferred practice is to make a separate motion for each topic that will come under consideration during a closed meeting.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-13-09 (12/17/2009): A motion to convene a closed meeting must identify the subject of the meeting, state its purpose, and provide a reference to an applicable exemption. Quoting or paraphrasing a statutory exemption states the purpose of the meeting, but does not identify the subject. FOIA places the duty to identify the subject of a closed meeting upon the public body holding the meeting, not its attorney.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-09 (6/9/2009): Though generally local public bodies may not meet or cast votes by electronic means, a telephone conversation between an administrator and a single member of a public body is not a meeting subject to FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-09 (5/19/2009): Boards of equalization are public bodies and are required to keep minutes of their meetings. Even before law takes effect July 1, 2009, minutes should be in writing. Audio recordings cannot be a substitute. Votes must be recorded, though those who vote need not be identified.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-09 (5/15/2009): Section 15.2-2907 says that certain meetings that are or would be subject to review by the Commission on Local Government -- like consolidation and annexation discussions -- are not subject to FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-09 (5/8/2009): A task force jointly created by multiple public bodies to advise them is itself a public body subject to FOIA. Likewise, a regional public body provided for by statute and established by the resolutions of several local public bodies is also subject to FOIA. Both must comply with the procedural rules for conducting public meetings.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-08 (12/2/2008): As a general rule, an individual member of a board, designated as a liaison to staff, is not a public body for meetings purposes. Records prepared, owned, or possessed by that member in the transaction of public business are public records subject to FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-08 (10/16/2008): Advisory committees formed by Richmond Mayor Douglas Wilder are not subject to FOIA. FOIA applies to committees formed by public bodies to perform a delegated function or provide advice to the public body. The mayor, however, is not a public body.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-08 (5/5/2008): FOIA does not require a public body to provide records, or portions thereof, that are not responsive to a request. Implementing a universal security policy requiring all visitors to present identification before entering a public building does not inherently exclude the public from attending public meetings which may be held therein.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-08 (4/18/2008): A public body may convene a closed meeting to discuss the formation and award of a procurement contract.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-13-07 (10/29/2007): FOIA allows public bodies to hold closed meetings to discuss the acquisition of real property if holding the discussion in an open meeting would adversely affect the bargaining position or negotiating strategy of the public body. Absent such jeopardy to the public body's bargaining position or negotiating strategy, these discussions must be open.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-10-07 (7/18/2007): Determining whether an entity is a public body as a committee, subcommittee, or other entity however designated of a public body depends on how the entity was formed and what functions it performs.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-07 (7/11/2007): FOIA requires public notice to be given when a public body holds a public meeting. Failure to give the required notice is a violation of FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-07 (6/8/2007): Meetings must be noticed for the time when they actually begin. A public body must approve by vote in an open meeting a motion to convene a closed meeting, and must certify the closed meeting after reconvening in open session. The motion and certification must be included in the meeting minutes, along with records of the votes taken to approve the motion and certification.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-07 (5/7/2007): The student government of a public institution of higher education is a public body subject to FOIA. The branches of student government are analogous to the organization of government generally (i.e., legislative, executive, and judicial). (Several other related issues discussed.)
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-07 (1/7/2007): The closed meeting exemption for consultation with counsel regarding specific legal matters may not be used for the purpose of discussing a general policy in the absence of any specific legal transaction or dispute.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-09-06 (10/25/2006): An entity (in this case, a redistricting committee assisting a school board) that states that its meetings are open to the public should provide public notice of those meetings, whether or not the entity is subject to FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-10-06 (10/25/2006): A nonprofit foundation created by private citizens that voluntarily works with localities for the public good, but does not receive public funding, is not a public body subject to FOIA.
- White Dog Publishing v. Culpeper Board of Supervisors (9/15/2006): In considering certain newspaper publishers' application for a writ of mandamus, the circuit court erred in finding that a county board of supervisors did not violate the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by going into a closed session at a particular meeting and erred in failing to award reasonable costs and attorney's fees under the Act. Because the purpose of the closed session was not the formation or modifications of a procurement contract, it did not fall within the statutory public contract exemption of § 2.2-3711(A)(30), and special circumstances did not make an award of fees and costs unjust.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-06 (3/27/2006): There is no special exemption in FOIA for a joint committee of conference of the General Assembly to hold a closed meeting on a budget bill.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-06 (3/27/2006): It is beyond the scope of the FOI Advisory Council's authority to interpret the rules of either house of the General Assembly. There is no joint conference of the General Assembly after adjournment sine die.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinon AO-02-06 (3/15/2006): Gathering of quorum from both a town council and a planning commission, on a topic that had once been before the council and was likely to be before it again, should have been advertised to the public as a joint meeting of both entities.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-06 (2/23/2006): FOIA requires that meeting minutes contain a summary of the discussion on matters proposed, deliberated or decided, and a record of any votes taken. Public bodies should always include in meeting minutes a summary of any matter that appears on the agenda for that meeting and of any matters that are the subject of a motion or vote.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-11-05 (8/5/2005): Question on whether meeting of liaison committee of school board and board of supervisors was subject to FOIA depends on status of members as a subcommittee or quorum of their respective public bodies.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-10-05 (7/6/2005): Study commission appointed to advise public body is also a public body. Public body may impose restrictions on placement and use of recording devices, but may not prohibit recording.
- William H. Turner v. Virginia Board of Dentistry, Department of Health Professions, et al. (6/2/2005): Board of Dentistry meeting minutes were inadequate, did not include even a summary of the discussion on a particular subject and decision. Attorney fees awarded for FOIA violation. No wilful violation found.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-05 (2/7/2005): School board's motion to go into closed session complied with FOIA's three-part test for such motions. County's vague reference to affirm a recommendation on a personnel matter identified by number rather than by name or position did not comport with FOIA's requirement that votes taken after reconvening after a closed meeting must describe the substance of the action.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-25-04 (12/8/2004): FOIA requests and responses should be clearly communicated and shold avoid editorial comments so that the process does not become adversarial. Minutes of state agencies created prior to July 1, 2004, may be inadequate representations of what transpired in a meeting; a public body is not required to recreate the actions of a pre-July 1, 2004, meeting in revised minutes.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-24-04 (12/2/2004): A motion to go into closed meetings to discuss 'issues relating to a specifically named individual' is too vague to identify either the subject matter under discussion or the purpose of the discussion. Though a meeting might have been closed without the proper procedure, votes taken after the meeting, provided they were recorded in public, are valid.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-21-04 (9/22/2004): FOI Advisory Council lacks statutory authority to determine whether the Americans with Disabilities Act would allow sensory or physically disabled members of local public bodies to meet via electronic means when FOIA squarely prohibits it.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-20-04 (8/31/2004): Because they are performing a delegated duty of the county service authority as a whole, meetings of the county service authority's customer dispute process are open.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-15-04 (7/19/2004): A citizen-organized gathering with three members of a school board for the purpose of discussing business currently pending before the board must comply with FOIA's notice provisions.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-04 (6/16/2004): A meeting between chair and vice chair of both board of supervisors and school board is not subject to FOIA if those members were not specifcally designated as a committee of their respective boards.
- Media General Operations v. City Council of the City of Richmond (5/5/2004): City council meeting to discuss performance of city manager improperly strayed into discussion of city's soaring crime rate. No authority for closing a proceeding to present closing arguments in a case challenging the propriety of a closed meeting.
- Beck v. Shelton (3/5/2004): FOIA does not apply to members-elect. Exchange of multiple e-mails over a several-hour period not an illegal electronic meeting. Neighborhood meeting no FOIA violation.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-04 (1/16/2004): Public body must follow FOIA's notice provision, even if planning to go into a closed meeting immediately; closed meeting can only take place within the context of an open meeting. Draft proposal between a city and a county over acquisition of water may be withheld under the exemption for contract negotations, if disclosure would jeopardize bargaining position; discussions of the proposal may also be held in closed session. Advisory Council uses subcommittee to identify a problem in FOIA and propose legislation to address it.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-23-03 (9/22/2003): A meeting notice that omits the exact time of the meeting (or, in certain instances, whether there will be a public comment period) is deficient. A public body does not have an obligation to honor a standing request for agenda items that will be created in the future.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-22-03 (7/21/2003): FOIA does not prohibit public bodies from regulating public comment period during open meetings. A public comment period rule prohibiting speakers from asking questions of the public body and its staff does not violate FOIA's allowance for records requests to be made verbally. FOIAC cannot render opinions regarding possible federal constitutional violations.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-17-03 (7/7/2003): If a public body has authority to censure or reprimand one of its members, it may meet in closed session to discuss it; without such authority, however, the body cannot close a meeting to discuss someone over whom the body has no control.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-13-03 (5/30/2003): Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority is a public body subject to FOIA. A press conference attended by a quorum of a public body or committee members representing the body is a meeting under FOIA. Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority may not deny media kits to citizens who request them. Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority may not exclude members of the public from press conferences held to announce public business. Employees of the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority may hold a private press conference without violating the letter of the law, but it would violate FOIA's spirit of openness.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-03 (3/20/2003): A hearing to determine whether a teacher's complaint fits the definition of grievance should be held in private session in accordance with the Education Code; FOIA does not override the requirement.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-03 (2/14/2003): when examining rules adopted by public bodies governing the placement and use of recording equipment, one must examine the rules on a case-by-case basis to determine the practical implications of their application. Construing liberally the right of the public to record meetings, rules may be imposed to prevent interference with the meeting, but not in such a way as would essentially prohibit a recording from being made.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-03 (1/23/2003): A public body is not authorized to purchase land between an informal vote taken in properly closed meeting but before a vote on purchase taken in open session. An informal vote taken in a closed meeting is not binding. Members of a public body may individually poll each other for their position on a matter of public business outside the context of either an open meeting or a properly closed one.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-15-02 (11/12/2002): City council may meet in closed session to discuss slate of candidates to fill a vacancy on that council. Discussion may include consensus or a straw poll to narrow the list of candidates, though no selection would be final or binding unless voted on at a meeting open to the public.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-16-02 (11/12/2002): A local body may not meet by any kind of electronic means; all participating members must be physically assembled in one place. The public, however, may participate in a meeting via electronic means.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-02 (8/30/2002): City manager may poll council members for advvice on how to spend money in the manager's discretionary fund. Motions to go into closed session must state the general exemption, the purpose and the subject matter of the meeting. No public discussion or vote is needed where a further action is not predicated on council action.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-02 (7/3/2002): Public body members may waive notice for themselves, but not for the public. Meetings are to be open to both the public and the press, not one or the other. A meeting of three or more members of a public body to discuss public business is to be open to the public, and the notice requirements of FOIA must be followed.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-02 (3/1/2002): Meetings of private organizations are not subject to FOIA. The attendance of elected officials at a private meeting does not convert the gathering to a public meeting as long as the officials did not arrange their attendance to discuss or transact public business.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-46-01 (10/5/2001): Though meetings with staff and government employees are not usually subject to FOIA, they are if they include a quorum of a public body's members. Informal gatherings - pre-meeting, post-meeting or some other time - are still meetings that must comply with FOIA if their purpose is to discuss public business.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-45-01 (10/2/2001): A motion to go into closed session that meets the procedural requirements of FOIA must still concern a topic that is actually a proper subject for a closed meeting. Discussion of financial incentives a locality is considering offering to lure a new business to the area is a proper subject for a closed meeting.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-43-01 (9/5/2001): Notice of future meetings must be posted at the clerk's office and a prominent public location. Though FOIA encourages the use of electronic communication via the Internet, the town's Web site does not qualify as a prominent public location under FOIA's meeting notice provisions.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-40-01 (8/23/2001): A gathering of four of five members of a governing body prior to a regularly scheduled meeting is prohibited if the members are discussing public business, but is not prohibited if public business is not being discussed.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-38-01 (8/13/2001): It is not a violation of FOIA for public body members to reach a consensus in closed session, but nothing is official until a vote in open session has been taken; a motion to close a meeting listing only the purpose and the statutory citation is inadequate because it does not also identify the purpose of the meeting; FOIA insures the public's right to witness public meetings, it does not guarantee the right to participate in meetings.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-31-01 (6/11/2001): Though a public body may discuss the sale of publicly held real property in closed meeting, FOIA and subsection B of ß15.2-1800 require a public meeting and vote before selling the property.
- Wilson v. City of Salem (5/29/2001): Wilson v. City of Salem/Munley v. City of Salem: Judge Weckstein's opinion
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-26-01 (5/16/2001): No exemption applies to allow for confidential discussion over construction plans for a previously approved restaurant
- Mannix v. Board of Supervisors (5/3/2001): .
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-24-01 (5/2/2001): Citizens advisory committee established to make recommendations to the State Transportation Board is subject to FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-20-01 (3/19/2001): Two-person subcommittee is a public body subject to FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-18-01 (3/16/2001): At least three working days' notice is necessary to announce the change in location of a previously scheduled meeting; updates required everywhere notice is posted, including the Internet.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-14-01 (2/26/2001): When making a motion to go into closed session, the level of specificity required to identify the subject matter when addressing litigation greatly depends upon how its disclosure would affect the negotiating or litigating posture of the public body, and thus a general description may suffice.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-01 (1/24/2001): A school board member's attendance as a member of the general public at a meeting of a committee that two fellow school board members are on does not constitute a meeting of the school board.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-01 (1/16/2001): Regarding requirements for notice and agendas for special or emergency meetings; enforcement
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-01 (1/3/2001): Use of an e-mail network listserv by city council members is an improper electronic meeting under FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-19-00 (12/15/2000): Parental request of school board for religious exemption (as a personal matter unrelated to the transaction of public business) is proper subject for a closed meeting if the topic has been identified with specificity in the motion to go into closed session.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-00 (12/12/2000): once city council members acted on a report that was arguably part of the city manager's working papers, any exempt status is lost and the document becomes part of the public record.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-13-00 (12/12/2000): Notice for special or emergency meetings must be reasonable under the circumstances; determination of reasonableness is not within purview of FOI Advisory Council's duties.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-09-00 (11/30/2000): Roberts Rules of Order is subordinate to FOIA in the event of any conflict between the two.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-00 (11/8/2000): The condition or use of real estate is no longer a valid topic for a closed meeting; city manager's working paper exemption evaporates once he disseminates document.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-00 (10/17/2000): Physical presence of lawyer is necessary for public body to invoke closed meeting exemption regarding consultation for advice on a specific legal matter; counsel's presence is not necessarily demanded when the exemption for briefings on actual or probable litigation.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-00 (10/3/2000): The informal gathering of three members of the Norfolk Wetlands Board to tour the site of an applicant for a dredging permit is considered a meeting under FOIA because it necessarily concerns the transaction of public business
- Attorney General's Opinion 2000 #042 (7/21/2000): Elected officials are not employees of the board, therefore the closed meeting exemption for private discussions of an individual employee's performance does not apply to them.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1999 #061 (5/18/2000): Becuase a city council does not exercise control over the daily work of the city manager's employees, the city council cannot use the personnel exemption to discuss city employees in a closed meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1999 #075 (2/17/2000): Under law as it existed prior to July 1, 1999, advance notice of a telephone meeting didn't need to list all locations from where telephone participation was to take place. Post-July 1, 1999, law says all locations must be identified.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1999 #014 (10/29/1999): Two members of seven-member board may meet informally by phone, provided the two do not constitute a standing committee nor authorized to act on the board's behalf.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1999 #015 (4/5/1999): A school board may not meet in executive session to discuss the election of its chairman. The personnel exemption does not apply.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1998 #009 (12/16/1998): Though a city council may meet in executive session to discuss personnel appointed by the council, it cannot close a public meeting to discuss the employees of those appointed personnel.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1998 #096 (10/20/1998): A public body may meet in executive session to discuss the acquisition, condition or use of public property.
- Town of Madison v. Ford (2/27/1998): The Virginia Constitution requires that votes taken on all municipal ordinances must reflect how each member present voted.
- Shenandoah Publishing House v. Warren County School Board (10/30/1996): An injunction is proper where a school
board enters into any contract, which was discussed during a closed
executive session conducted pursuant to the Virginia Freedom of
Information Act and whose effective date is before the date on which the
school board reconvenes in open session and formally approves the
- McLaughlin v. Town of Front Royal (3/1/1996): An action taken in open session of a meeting is valid.
- Shenandoah Publishing House v. Warren County School Board (6/20/1995): Decided City Council did not violate FOIA by meeting
in closed session; Shenandoah Publishing House Inc. v. The
Winchester City Council; Chancery No. 95-156.
- Commonwealth v. Payne (4/17/1995): A city ordinance passed when all
members of a public body vote in open session is valid.
- Shenandoah Publishing House v. Warren County School Board (5/28/1993): FOIA violations made in good faith do
not require the imposition of civil penalties
- Attorney General's Opinion 1992 #001 (12/18/1992): Negotiations regarding the substantive terms of a contract to buy water from a neighboring locality is a 'legal matter' that can be discussed in a closed meeting because public disclosure could compromise negotiating positions/strategy.
Not all public business that may end up in contract form is considered a 'legal matter'.
- ACLU v. Andrews (9/19/1991):
- Attorney General's Opinion 1991 #005 (8/5/1991): Public body satisfies continual request for notice by saying its meetings are held at the same time and same place on the same day each month and that separate notice will be given for special meetings. No additional notice necessary when date, time and place of reconvened meeting is announced at regularly scheduled meeting.
- Hale v. Washington County School Board (1/11/1991): Relief for a plaintiff under FOIA does
not include compelling a government body to turn over minutes, even if
there are any, of an executive/closed meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1990 #008 (2/21/1990): The two members of a seven-member board, and the two members of a seven-member council, joining to discuss mutual governmental business are both committees and must comply with FOIA's meeting procedures.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1989 #016 (10/12/1989): Agency not exempt from FOIA; closed-door discussion not covered by FOIA exemption
- Attorney General's Opinion 1987-88 #236 (8/30/1988): Planning districts are public bodies. Advisory committees and subcommittees of a planning district are subject to FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1987-88 #034 (7/21/1988): No secret ballots permitted; recorded votes must occur in open session.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1986-87 #031 (12/16/1986): Annexation is not a 'legal matter' within a school board's jurisdiction, so a closed meeting to discuss annexation is not permissible.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1986-87 #030 (8/30/1986): A group that meets with at least three members of a state board must be open. Meetings with mere employees, who are not appointees or constituent members of the board, do not have to be open.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1985-86 #103 (2/8/1986): General legal matters are not a proper subject for closed meeting. Legal matters must be specific. Board of zoning appeals is subject to FOIAÄ…s meeting requirements.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1985-86 #332 (12/20/1985): A meeting of four of a nine-member public body is a meeting even though the four could not take any action on behalf of the board. Committees and subcommittees are subject to FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1985-86 #331 (7/11/1985): A public body may admit those persons deemed necessary or whose presence will reasonably aid the public body in its consideration of a topic which is the subject of a properly convened closed meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1985-86 #333A (7/3/1985): Secret ballots not permitted under FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1984-85 #068 (5/30/1985): Constitutional officers are not entitled to notice any better or any worse than that given to the general public.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1984-85 #420 (3/12/1985): Meetings to discuss employment terms and contract of school board superintendent are properly closed, but the action of employing the superintendent must take place in open session. Employment contract of school superintendent is open.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1984-85 #426 (3/8/1985): Where city attorney calls in council members to prepare them as witnesses in a scheduled trial, there has been no meeting. No public policy is deliberated, the individuals were not gathered as an entity, and no action by the entity was anticipated.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1984-85 #427 (10/31/1984): All public bodies must take minutes at their open meetings. A tape recording of a public bodyÄ…s meeting is an acceptable form of meeting minutes. However, because FOIA allows inspection or copying of minutes, a public body may want to do something else.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1984-85 #423 (10/17/1984): Even informal gatherings, such as over a meal, are meetings if part of the purpose is to discuss public business, or the gathering was prearranged with any purpose of discussing business. Notice provisions apply to executive session, as well as open meetings, therefore, notice of time and location of executive session must be given. Reconvening in different location.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #440 (6/28/1984): Any official public body action must take place in a meeting where the membership is physically present.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #441 (1/27/1984): Nothing in FOIA prohibits a public body member for taking minutes at or tape recording a properly closed meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #445 (11/28/1983): Executive meetings
should not be continued from one date to a subsequent date when the
business before the body cannot be completed on the scheduled date.
- Lee Jackson Motel v. Industrial Development Authority (10/3/1983): The procedure was not in opposition of the Freedom of Information Act, and the size of the land purchase did not invalidate the proposition.
- Roanoke City School Board v. Times-World Corp. (9/9/1983): Pre-arranged telephone conference call among members of a local school board, during which matters proper for an executive or closed session are discussed which are, is not a meeting under FOIA and does not violate the statutory requirement of prior notice to the public.
- Lee Jackson Motel v. Industrial Development Authority (8/16/1983): The burden is on the plaintiff to show
that an action was taken in executive or closed session without
reconvening in open session.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #714 (4/19/1983): Discussion of the hiring, firing, resignation, retention, salary and money paid to the city attorney, elected by the city council, may be held in executive session under the personnel exemption.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #719 (1/28/1983): Mere presence of three members of a county board of supervisors on a private board of trustees does not convert a the board of trustees into a public body that needs to follow FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #713 (11/12/1982): Discussion about filling one deputy superindent's position and eliminating another may be held under the personnel exemption; however, discussion about general office reorganization is not a proper topic for the personnel exemption.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #723 (9/3/1982): Secret ballots in open meeting not allowed.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #712 (8/20/1982): Virginia Equaly Employment Opportunity Committee may not meet as a body with employees regarding a specific complaint in executive session.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #721 (8/20/1982): Cocktail parties attended by members of a public body, like other social functions, are not meetings for purposes of FOIA, provided that they are not held with the intention of conducting business and business does not take place.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #717 (7/19/1982): Discussion about the desirability of creating a deferred payment plan for hooking up to the city sewer line is not proper subject for closed meeting under the legal matters exemption.Reading a prepared statement to close a meeting does not meet the FOIA requirement that a motion to go into a closed meeting must be adopted.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #716 (7/7/1982): Proper subject of the legal matters exemption is a fact-based, case-by-case determination.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #434 (6/14/1982): Telephone poll of individual members is akin to an informal assemblage, not subject to FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #430 (4/16/1982): Body may meet in executive session at irregular time and place as long as members of the body waive notice and as long as the pass a motion in open session to go into executive session.
- Laird v. City of Danville (3/12/1982): Closed Meetings; 2.1-344(b): When Only Two Items on Agenda are Legal
Matters, Motion to Confer Privately With Counsel is Valid Under Code sec. 2.1-344(a)(6) Although
Whether Both Items or Particular Item Will be Considered is Not Indicated
- Marsh v. Richmond Newspapers Inc. (3/12/1982): An executive session/closed meeting based on the legal matters exemption is not justified by an attorney's mere presence in the room
- Nageotte v. Board of Supervisors of King George County (3/12/1982): A motion to go into executive/closed session to discuss personnel issues need not identify the identity of the employee to be discussed.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #437 (1/28/1982): Committees established by bodies subject to FOIA (in this case, the curriculum study committee of a school board) must also comply with the Act.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #436 (12/29/1981): As long as no more than two members from any one local governing body particpate in a joint conference with other governing bodies to discuss regional issues, the joint meetings need not comply with FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #439 (9/14/1981): Legislatively created political subdivision may discuss bond financing and acquisition of property to be developed and sold for the subdivision. The subdivsion cannot, however, meet in executive session to discuss industrial revenue bond financing of privately owned property for private commercial or industrial purposes.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #432 (9/11/1981): Just because a contract is a legal document, a redevelopment authority cannot use the legal matters exemption to justify closing a meeting to discusses changes to the contract.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #442 (8/24/1981): So-called workshop gatherings are still meetings for purposes of FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1980-81 #058 (5/29/1981): The use of the word teacher in the personnel exemption to open meetings - personnel evaluations - encompasses college faculty members.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1980-81 #384 (5/11/1981): Meeting of county government's two-member subcommittee subject to FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1980-81 #387 (9/22/1980): Public body may use real estate exemption to discuss relocation of an arts center onto now-privately owned land. Public body cannot meet in closed session to discuss garbage collection, drainage problems, or the use of a private company for city-owned auto repairs. Legal matters exemption applies to discussion of prosecuting owners of adult entertainment establishments.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1980-81 #386 (7/28/1980): Public body may not use the real estate exemption to hold an executive meeting to discuss potential health hazards or government asbestos ratings of publicly owned buildings.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1980-81 #386A (7/28/1980): Virginia Beach City Council may meet behind closed doors to discuss selection of the city's mayor, but election to a new mayor must wait until an open meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1980-81 #389 (7/28/1980): Legal matters exemption does not pertain to issues that have a general legal character, like zoning.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1980-81 #390 (7/14/1980): School board may hold closed meeting to discuss prospective school board appointees, but must wait until an open meeting to appoint or elect them.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #056 (6/13/1980): board of supervisors may not close its public meetings to direct broadcast by radio, or to recording for later broadcast, although the board of supervisors may impose reasonable rules and restrictions upon the broadast and recording activities such as are imposed equally on the public.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #385 (5/23/1980): Because nothing in FOIA demands confidentiality of any record or meeting, school board members-elect may attend executive sessions and review personnel records prior to taking office.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #379 (4/18/1980): Public body may not discuss any subject in executive session other than those authorized in FOIA's exemptions.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #380 (3/25/1980): Executive session called without a prior resolution adopted in public meeting violates FOIA. No election of planning commission officers in executive session. Actions taken by illegally elected public body officers are valid up until the point when they learn of the election defect.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #382 (3/20/1980): The general statement of policy found at the beginning of FOIA is a reflection of the legislative intent of the Act.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #381 (1/15/1980): Public body cannot adopt a resolution in executive session, and a public vote on the resolution does not cure the error.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #298 (1/7/1980): School board's attendance at a labor organization's presentation may be subject to FOIA if the purpose of the board's attendance is to discuss/transact public business.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #302 (10/4/1979): Confirms procedures for going into closed meeting. Board member appointed in an illegal meeting is a de facto officer, and the board's actions are valid, until notice of the illegal appointment is made.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #378 (8/13/1979): School board may not use personnel exemption to discuss general personnel priorities in exeuctive session. Materials held exclusively by school superintendent are exempt working papers even if the superintendent has given a presentation to school board personnel using those materials.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1978-79 #314 (6/21/1979): Board cannot meet in executive session to discuss expansion of private college.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1978-79 #313 (6/15/1979): Minutes or transcripts of a properly held executive meeting are exempt from mandatory disclsoure.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1978-79 #315A (4/10/1979): Town council may meet to discuss location of a bridge, where the bridge would not be located upon town property and where the town would not be involved in the acquisition of easements for the bridge right-of-way.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1977-78 #054 (6/5/1978): School board hearing on budget must be open, though FOIA doesn't mandate a formal public hearing on the budget.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1977-78 #482 (3/22/1978): Honor committee, funded and maintained by a state university board of visitors is public body subject to FOIA. Honor council trials are not open meetings becayse they involve student discipline.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1977-78 #485 (9/28/1977): Prearranged out-of-town meeting of two public bodies required that notice be sent to those requesting it and that minutes be taken.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1977-78 #484 (9/27/1977): City council and taxpayers' association may meet together as long as FOIA's notice and minutes procedures are followed.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1977-78 #492 (8/9/1977): Secret ballot voting in open meeting prohibited. Actions taken by secret-ballot vote are ineffective until affirmed by open vote in open meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1976-77 #308A (6/21/1977): Chance encounter of two or members of a local governing body is not a meeting subject to FOIA, even if the members discuss public business when they see each other, so long as the encounter was not prearranged with the purpose of discussing public business.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1976-77 #308 (1/13/1977): Three-member committee of nine-member council is subject to FOIA. Public and press may be excluded from a properly called executive session, but there is nothing to prohibit the attendance at the meeting of people who would be helpful or necessary to the meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1976-77 #316 (11/15/1976): No executive session under legal matters exemption to discuss advertising contract bid and negotiations. No executive session under real estate exemption to discuss debt owed on property already acquired.
- WTAR v. City Council of the City of Virginia Beach (4/23/1976): An injunction is not justified where there is not a reasonable probability that violations of FOIA will occur again.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #406 (4/12/1976): University of Virginia advisory committee made up of faculty and administrative personnel not subject to FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #412 (3/19/1976): Three-member board of supervisors subject to FOIA. Three-member committee may hold closed meeting to discuss acquisition of building to house county offices.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #417 (2/26/1976): FOIA violation for going into executive session without a motion, and for reconvening, having transacted public business, without a motion. Election held in improper executive session may be set aside by court action. Acts of entity with an improperly elected official as a member are valid until the official is notified of the legal defect behind his/her election.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #411 (11/5/1975): Late-night gathering of six council members with county manager, commonwealth attorney and select others to discuss police scandal was a meeting for purposes of FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #410 (8/25/1975): Mere distribution of a letter during executive session without discussion does not violate FOIA, though the letter itself is an official record subject to disclosure upon request.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #343 (6/30/1975): Student suspension hearing may be closed to public.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #568 (5/7/1975): General budget discussions must be public. Public vote required before adjourning to closed meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #582 (4/21/1975): Body cannot discuss general budget and general public employee salary levels in closed session.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #574 (4/15/1975): Meetings between city manager and city council are public unless an exemption applies. Conflicting city charter provisions trump FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #078 (4/8/1975): Meetings between school board employees and an education association need not be open.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #570 (3/17/1975): Discussion in closed session about town manager's employment in violation of FOIA because the meeting was not preceded by an affirmative vote in open session.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #573 (3/17/1975): Industrial authority may hold closed meeting to discuss prospective business relocations provided there has been no prior public announcement about the business' intention to locate in the area. Duty is to create access to records/meetings, not to proactively release information.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #022 (11/19/1974): Board employees may meet with employee representatives in closed session, though meeting with the representatives and the actual board must be open.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #212 (11/18/1974): Industrial development authorities are subject to FOIA. Act doesn't require public notice of meetings, just notice to those who have requested it.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #579 (9/30/1974): Informal gathering of body's members to discuss and vote on the election of mayor and vice-mayor violates FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #578 (9/18/1974): Secret-ballot vote at open meeting not permissible. Election of officers by improper secret at an open meeting not valid until vote can be retaken in open session.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1973-74 #457A (4/23/1974): A body may prohibit the use of recording devices in its meetings only to the extent that it furthers the orderly administration of the meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1973-74 #450 (4/10/1974): Board cannot meet in executive session to discuss general budgetary matters. Individual matters that fall within an exemption may be discussed, provided the procedures from entering into a closed meeting are followed.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1973-74 #451 (1/9/1974): Boards of zoning appeals are subject to FOIA. any action taken in a closed session is null and void unless voted on in a public meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1973-74 #453 (1/2/1974): Council can hold annual meeting at Elk's National Home provided FOIA notice provisions are followed.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1972-73 #491 (5/11/1973): Acknowleding 1973 change in law that requires announcement of the specific topic to be discussed in closed session.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1972-73 #488 (1/3/1973): Only topics covered by FOIA may be discussed in a closed meeting. Public vote must be taken prior to adjourning into a closed meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1972-73 #496 (1/3/1973): Special investigative commission organized pursuant to city council resolution and made of less than the council's full membership not subject to FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1972-73 #490A (12/7/1972): Board may hold a closed meeting on a topic it already has brought up in a public hearing and will again bring up in a continuation of that hearing.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1972-73 #492 (9/25/1972): If a body's constituent members get together to discuss public business is discussed and votes are taken, they have had a meeting, regardless of whether the body labels the get-together an informal gathering. Purpose behind FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1972-73 #496A (8/1/1972): Commission of Outdoor Recreation cannot discuss the funding for proposed park projects in closed session.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1971-72 #467A (4/11/1972): Closed session must be preceded by motion adopted in open session. Public body required to notify any citizen who requests notification of public body meetings, though public body not required to maintain a mailing list.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1971-72 #466 (10/18/1971): Board must vote in open session whether to hold a closed meeting; no informal plan to meet is allowed. No need to publicize time and location of closed meeting, though those attending the public meeting where the closed meeting is announced will be aware of the schedule.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1970-71 #447 (4/29/1971): Once a board is in executive session for an enumerated reason, it may not discuss other non-related matters but must hold a public meeting for the discussion of such matters.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1970-71 #448 (4/9/1971): Committee of the whole of a public body's members is subject to FOIA; committee of less than all the members is not.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1970-71 #445 (3/29/1971): Any action taken in closed meeting must be voted on in a public meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1969-70 #316 (6/19/1970): Local park authority may meet in closed session to discuss desirability/feasibility of acquiring a tract of land for use as a public park.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1969-70 #231 (2/18/1970): Discussions between a school board and a proposed teachers association must be open to the public.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1969-70 #316A (10/29/1969): Public body may not go into executive session solely at the direction of the body's presiding officer.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1968-69 #261 (11/30/-0001): newspaper publication is sufficient for notice of meetings. Not necessary to establish a mailing list to notify interested citizens of meetings.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1972-73 #494 (11/30/-0001): A citizen who asks for notice is entitled to continuous notification of all meetings. An affirmative vote to go into closed session must be taken prior to each session.
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