FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-50-01
December 11, 2001
Mr. Karl Santone
The staff of the Freedom of
Information Advisory Council is authorized to issue advisory
opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon
the information presented in your letter of November 27, 2001.
Dear Mr. Santone:
You have requested an opinion on the question of whether the
record exemption for correspondence invoked by a county
administrator was proper under the Virginia Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA). You indicate that under FOIA you requested a copy of a
letter dated September 12, 2001, from the county administrator to
the members of the county board of supervisors concerning the
"Responses to Citizen Inquiries" received by the county. You
indicated that the county administrator declined your FOIA request,
citing subsection A. 6. of § 2.2-3705 of the Code of
Virginia, which provides for the withholding of correspondence and
working papers of certain enumerated public officials.
Subsection A. 6. of § 2.2-3705 of the Code of Virginia
exempts from mandatory disclosure [w]orking papers and
correspondence of the Office of the Governor; Lieutenant Governor;
the Attorney General; the members of the General Assembly or the
Division of Legislative Services; the mayor or chief executive
officer of any political subdivision of the Commonwealth; or
the president or other chief executive officer of any public
institution of higher education in Virginia. However, no record
which is otherwise open to inspection under this chapter shall be
deemed exempt by virtue of the fact that it has been attached to or
incorporated within any working paper or correspondence.
(Emphasis added). This exemption allows the chief executive officer
of any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, in this case, the
county administrator, to withhold from disclosure working papers or
correspondence. As the chief executive officer, the county
administrator may properly invoke this exemption to withhold
correspondence between her and the board of supervisors.
Thank you for contacting this office. I hope that I have been of
Maria J.K. Everett
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