FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-09-01


February 6, 2001

Mr. Andy Herrick
James City County Assistant Attorney
Williamsburg, 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 phone conversation of January 19, 2001.

Dear Mr. Herrick:

You have asked a question concerning the applicability of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the Neighborhood Connections Office in your locality. You indicate that the Neighborhood Connections Office (the "Office") is a local government agency, created to facilitate communication among the various neighborhoods in the county. To further this goal, the Office collects a list of contact persons from neighborhood associations, homeowner associations, and other such neighborhood groups, which includes information such as phone numbers and addresses. You ask whether this list of contact persons would be subject to a FOIA request.

Section 2.1-341 of the Code of Virginia defines a public body to include any authority, board, bureau, commission, district or agency of the Commonwealth or of any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, including cities, towns, and counties. Clearly, the Office fits within this definition, because it is an agency of the county. Subsection A of 2.1-342 requires that all records of a public body be open to inspection and copying unless specifically provided by law. Subsection A of 2.1-342.01 sets forth numerous exemptions to the law; however, none of the exemptions would allow a public body to withhold the type of records that you have described. As such, the list of contact persons maintained by the office would be accessible to any requester under FOIA.

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


Maria J.K. Everett
Executive Director