The Virginia FOIA Opinion Archive


Attorney General's Opinion 2000 #042

Elected officials are not employees of the board, therefore the closed meeting exemption for private discussions of an individual employee's performance does not apply to them.

Attorney General's Opinion 1999 #061

Becuase a city council does not exercise control over the daily work of the city manager's employees, the city council cannot use the personnel exemption to discuss city employees in a closed meeting.

Attorney General's Opinion 1999 #075

Under law as it existed prior to July 1, 1999, advance notice of a telephone meeting didn't need to list all locations from where telephone participation was to take place. Post-July 1, 1999, law says all locations must be identified.

Attorney General's Opinion 1999 #014

Two members of seven-member board may meet informally by phone, provided the two do not constitute a standing committee nor authorized to act on the board's behalf.

Attorney General's Opinion 1999 #015

A school board may not meet in executive session to discuss the election of its chairman. The personnel exemption does not apply.

Attorney General's Opinion 1998 #009

Though a city council may meet in executive session to discuss personnel appointed by the council, it cannot close a public meeting to discuss the employees of those appointed personnel.

Attorney General's Opinion 1998 #096

A public body may meet in executive session to discuss the acquisition, condition or use of public property.

Town of Madison v. Ford

The Virginia Constitution requires that votes taken on all municipal ordinances must reflect how each member present voted.

Shenandoah Publishing House v. Warren County School Board

An injunction is proper where a school board enters into any contract, which was discussed during a closed executive session conducted pursuant to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and whose effective date is before the date on which the school board reconvenes in open session and formally approves the contract.

McLaughlin v. Town of Front Royal

An action taken in open session of a meeting is valid.

Shenandoah Publishing House v. Warren County School Board

Decided City Council did not violate FOIA by meeting in closed session; Shenandoah Publishing House Inc. v. The Winchester City Council; Chancery No. 95-156.

Commonwealth v. Payne

A city ordinance passed when all members of a public body vote in open session is valid.

Shenandoah Publishing House v. Warren County School Board

FOIA violations made in good faith do not require the imposition of civil penalties

Attorney General's Opinion 1992 #001

Negotiations regarding the substantive terms of a contract to buy water from a neighboring locality is a 'legal matter' that can be discussed in a closed meeting because public disclosure could compromise negotiating positions/strategy. Not all public business that may end up in contract form is considered a 'legal matter'.

ACLU v. Andrews


American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, et al.


Senator Hunter B. Andrews, et al.

Case No. HB-342-4

September 19, 1991

By Judge Randall G. Johnson

Attorney General's Opinion 1991 #005

Public body satisfies continual request for notice by saying its meetings are held at the same time and same place on the same day each month and that separate notice will be given for special meetings. No additional notice necessary when date, time and place of reconvened meeting is announced at regularly scheduled meeting.

Hale v. Washington County School Board

Relief for a plaintiff under FOIA does not include compelling a government body to turn over minutes, even if there are any, of an executive/closed meeting.

Attorney General's Opinion 1990 #008

The two members of a seven-member board, and the two members of a seven-member council, joining to discuss mutual governmental business are both committees and must comply with FOIA's meeting procedures.

Attorney General's Opinion 1989 #016

Agency not exempt from FOIA; closed-door discussion not covered by FOIA exemption

Attorney General's Opinion 1987-88 #236

Planning districts are public bodies. Advisory committees and subcommittees of a planning district are subject to FOIA.

Attorney General's Opinion 1987-88 #034

No secret ballots permitted; recorded votes must occur in open session.

Attorney General's Opinion 1986-87 #031

Annexation is not a 'legal matter' within a school board's jurisdiction, so a closed meeting to discuss annexation is not permissible.

Attorney General's Opinion 1986-87 #030

A group that meets with at least three members of a state board must be open. Meetings with mere employees, who are not appointees or constituent members of the board, do not have to be open.

Attorney General's Opinion 1985-86 #103

General legal matters are not a proper subject for closed meeting. Legal matters must be specific. Board of zoning appeals is subject to FOIAÄ…s meeting requirements.

Attorney General's Opinion 1985-86 #332

A meeting of four of a nine-member public body is a meeting even though the four could not take any action on behalf of the board. Committees and subcommittees are subject to FOIA.