FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-20-01


March 19, 2001

Mr. Rod Dillman
Deputy Superintendent of Schools, Botetourt County
Fincastle, 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 March 16, 2001.

Dear Mr. Dillman:

You have asked whether the gathering of a two-person subcommittee of a public body is subject to the open meeting provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) . You indicate that a five-member school board appointed two of its members to serve on the board's budget committee, and that this committee will provide budget suggestions and proposals to the entire board. You ask whether a gathering of these two members constitutes a meeting under FOIA.

In defining a public body, § 2.1-341 of the Code of Virginia specifically includes any committee or subcommittee of the public body created to perform delegated functions of the public body or to advise the public body. The committee, appointed to advise the school board about the budget, would be considered a public body under FOIA. FOIA defines a meeting as a gathering of (i) as many as three members or (ii) a quorum, if less than three, of the constituent membership. Because the committee is a public body comprised of only two members, a meeting would take place every time the two members gathered to discuss or transact public business. As such, the public must be notified of all meetings of the committee, and all of its meetings must be open to the public pursuant to FOIA unless a specific exemption applies.

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


Maria J.K. Everett
Executive Director