Advisory Council

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-13

A committee or advisory group of a public body that performs a delegated function or advises the public body is itself a public body. A committee or advisory group created by an individual to advise that individual is not a public body. In either case, however, records prepared, owned, or possessed by the committee or advisory group in the transaction of public business are public records subject to FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-13

A contract between a public body and a public employee settling an employment dispute may be withheld as a personnel record. However, accounting records that reflect payments pursuant to a settlement agreement are not exempt.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-13

Charges for public records are limited to actual costs. The actual cost to provide electronic records is not the same as the cost to provide paper copies. Estimates must be provided in advance if requested.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-13

A committee that was created by action of a city council, but does not advise the city council or perform a delegated function of the city council, is not a public body subject to FOIA for meetings purposes. However, records of such a committee that are in the transaction of public business are public records subject to FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-13

A motion to convene a closed meeting must identify the subject to be discussed, the purpose of the discussion, and cite an appropriate exemption. There are two requirements set forth in the exemption allowing public bodies to hold closed meetings to discuss real property matters: (1) that the discussion concern the acquisition of real property for a public purpose, or the disposition of publicly held real property, and (2) that discussion in an open meeting would adversely affect the bargaining position or negotiating strategy of the public body.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-13

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

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

FOI Advisory Opinion AO-01-13

Generally, records submitted by a private company to a state agency as required by regulation are public records subject to FOIA. Marking such records proprietary and confidential does not, by itself, make them exempt from mandatory disclosure; records are only exempt if there is a specific provision of law that allows them to be withheld.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-12

A public instrumentality exercising public and essential governmental functions (in this case, Crooked Road) is a public body subject to FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-12

Considering three different records exemptions, an adult arrestee photograph (mug shot) may not be withheld as a noncriminal incident record; may be withheld if its release would jeopardize a felony investigation; and may be withheld if the subject depicted is also a witness.

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