FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-01


January 24, 2001

Mr. Gary Grant
Member At-Large, Albemarle County School Board
Earlysville, VA

The staff of the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is authorized to issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the information presented in your e-mail of January 4, 2001.

Dear Mr. Grant:

You have asked whether your attendance at a meeting of the Compensation Committee ("the Committee") created by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors violated the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). You indicate that you are a member of the Albemarle County School Board, but are not a member of the Committee. However, two of your fellow school board members also serve on the Committee. You attended a meeting of the Committee as a member of the public, and sat in the audience, while your two fellow school board members attended the same meeting as members of that public body. You ask whether this gathering of three members constituted a meeting of the school board.

FOIA defines a meeting as (i) as many as three members, or (ii) a quorum, if less than three, of the constituent membership of a public body. In the scenario that you present, three members of the school board were gathered at the Committee meeting. However, subsection G of § 2.1-343 allows the gathering of two or more members of a public body at a function not related to the discussion or transaction of the public business of that body. It does not appear that school board business was discussed amongst the three members at the Committee meeting, nor does it appear that the Committee meeting was called for the purpose of discussing school board business. Thus, under FOIA, the presence of three school board members at the Committee meeting does not also constitute a school board meeting.

Thank you for contacting this office. I hope that I have been of assistance.


Maria J.K. Everett
Executive Director