April 11, 1972
THE HONORABLE JOHN C. COWAN
Commonwealth's Attorney of King George County
I am in receipt of your letter of April 6, 1972, which reads:
"The King George County Board of Supervisors is currently
holding closed meetings with the School Board concerning the
budget pursuant to § 2.1-344(7) of the 1950 Code of Virginia
as amended. Immediately upon convening of the meeting, the Board
will vote to go into closed session and will thereafter take up
the business at hand. We have received a request from a citizen of
this State pursuant to §2.1-343 that he be notified as to all
meetings of the Board. His request includes that he receive notice
of these meetings with the School Board which will be closed
meetings pursuant to vote taken when the meeting convenes.
"Is the Board required by law to give this individual notice of
these closed meetings?"
I am enclosing herein the opinions of this office to the Honorable
William J. McGhee, County Attorney of Montgomery County, dated
October 18, 1971 [71-72 Va. AG
466], and to the Honorable James E. Baylor, Secretary,
Electoral Board, City of Norfolk, dated April 15, 1969, and found in
68-69 Va. AG 261, which are applicable to
As ruled in the McGhee opinion, § 2.1-343 of the Code of
Virginia (1950), as amended, which reads: "Except as otherwise
specifically provided by law and except as provided in §§
2.1-344 and 2.1-345, all meetings shall be public meetings.
Information as to the time and place of each meeting shall be
furnished to any citizen of this State who requests such
information." is applicable only to "public meetings", defined as "a
meeting at which the public may be present." § 2.1-341(d).
A closed or executive meeting however, cannot be held unless first
there is an open meeting wherein an affirmative vote is taken,
allowing an executive session to be held. This vote is taken in open
session and would, in my opinion, be a public meeting, and one to
which § 2.1-343 would be applicable. Consequently, it would be
one which a citizen would be entitled to notice as to the time and
place of the meeting.
The McGhee opinion raised the factual situation wherein an open
meeting was held, an affirmative vote to go into executive session
taken, and the executive session was to be held at a later
time. Under these circumstances, § 2.1-343 would be inapplicable
as to the convening of the closed meeting.
In the factual situation you describe, it is apparent that an open
or public meeting is called. I am of the opinion, therefore, that the
board is required, by law, to furnish the individual notice of such a
meeting, giving him an opportunity to attend, even though the board
can immediately vote to go into closed session.
You indicate that the individual in question also requested that
he be notified as to all meetings of the board. As ruled in the
Baylor opinion, the board is not required to maintain a mailing list,
but must give out such information upon request concerning the
holding of any public meeting.