Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #069


June 4, 1975

Clerk Circuit Court of King George County

74-75 69

I have received your letter of May 19, 1975, inquiring whether your office copy of the report of fees, allowances, commissions and salaries which you are required to file with the State Compensation Board pursuant to §14.1-136, Code of Virginia (1950), as amended, is a public record which must be made available for public inspection.

Section 14.1-139 provides that your fee book "shall at all times be open to public inspection" but this statute does not apply to the report required by §14.1-136. The Virginia Freedom of Information Act, §2.1-340, et seq., broadly defines the term "official records" to include "reports or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made and received in pursuance of law by the public officers of the State and its counties, municipalities and subdivisions of government in the transaction of public business." See §2.1-341(b). Section 2.1-342 provides, with certain exceptions not applicable to your inquiry, that "all official records shall be open to inspection and copying by any citizens of this State during the regular office hours of the custodian of such records."

The report required by §14.1-136 is made pursuant to law by a public official in the transaction of public business. It is an "official record" as are all of its copies regardless of physical form. To conclude that the original report is an "official record," but that the copy retained by the prepaper is not, would frustrate the complete achievement of the object sought by the General Assembly in the enactment of §2.1-340, et seq. Accordingly, I am of the opinion that your inquiry must be answered in the affirmative.