FOIA 101 - Pre-meeting Meetings
The Freedom of Information Act defines a “meeting” as including work sessions of (i) as many as three members or (ii) a quorum, if less than three, of the constituent membership, wherever held, with or without minutes being taken, whether or not votes are cast, of any public body.
If it’s a meeting under FOIA, then all of FOIA’s procedural requirements apply: proper notice must be given, minutes must be taken at the meeting, and votes must be recorded.
Some public bodies like to hold work sessions, retreats or pre-meeting meetings to discuss topics that will arise in the reguarly scheduled meeting. Unfortunately, many of these bodies also think they are complying with FOIA so long as the doors are unlocked and the public can come in.
Open doors are good, but they aren’t enough, at least not under FOIA.
Citizens who aren’t notified of the pre-meeting are mystified when they arrive at the official meetings and decisions are made with little to no discussion. That’s because thorny issues are often being ironed out in the pre-meetings.
These meetings-before-the-meetings violate FOIA if no notice is given, regardless of whether the doors are physically open.
Making Your FOIA Life Easier
A seminar for state and local records managers at the Library of Virginia
800 E. Broad St., Richmond
Thursday, May 30, 2013
9:00 - 12:00
Click here for a paper registration form OR
(note: you do NOT need a PayPal account to use the PayPal payment page)
About the FOI Blog
Check out our blog for updates on VCOG's work, upcoming events, news and commentary.
Show most recent blog posts
List/search blog posts
FOIA Council Subcommittee on Rights & Responsibilities
FOIA Council Subcommittee on Electronic Meetings
Making Your FOIA Life Easier - a records management seminar
How Many Clicks?
VCOG surveyed all 134 Virginia counties and independent cities and asked,
"How many clicks does it take to get to your local budget?"
Now, click the owl and find out how YOUR locality ranked.
Drive your open government pride
Show your FOIA pride!
Get the new FOIA car magnet.