Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #379



April 18, 1980

The Honorable J. W. O'Brien, Jr.
Member, House of Delegates

79-80 379

You have asked whether a local governing body, meeting in executive session for purposes authorized by the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (the "Act"), may discuss other matters which are not authorized for executive session by the Act. I conclude that the Act does not permit such a practice.

Section 2.1-344(b) provides in relevant part:

"No meeting shall become an executive or closed meeting unless there shall have been recorded in open meeting an affirmative vote to that effect by the public body holding such meeting, which motion shall state specifically the purpose or purposes hereinabove set forth in this section which are to be the subject of such meeting and a statement included in the minutes of such meeting which shall make specific reference to the applicable exemption or exemptions as provided in subsection (a) or 2.1-345... The public body holding such an executive or closed meeting shall restrict its consideration of matters during the closed portions to only those purposes specifically exempted from the provisions of this chapter." (Emphasis added.)

The foregoing provisions of the Act clearly require that public bodies limit executive meetings to discussions of the specific subjects authorized in the Act. Accordingly, I am of the opinion that a public body may not discuss any subject in executive session other than those authorized in the provisions of §§2.1-344(a)(1) through 2.1-344(a)(9).