The Virginia FOIA Opinion Archive

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FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-39-01

A public body cannot charge a request fee unless it has determined in advance that the fee accurately reflects the cost to search and provide a requested record.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-37-01

An agency remains the legal custodian of records it is mandated by law to maintain, even if it does not retain physical custody of the records.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-34-01

Neither a volunteer fire company nor a committee created to handle the company's finances are public bodies; the minutes taken by a non-public body nonetheless become public records when they are provided to a public body (such as a city council); a non-public body's financial records in the possession of a local treasurer are not public records; a public record cannot be withheld simply because the public body for whom the record is prepared has not yet received it; there is no FOIA requirement that a request for records be made in writing.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-35-01

Unlike an annual request to be notified of meetings, FOIA does not require a public body to honor a standing request for records; however, to ease the administrative burden of responding multiple requests, the body may want to honor the annual request.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-33-01

According to the federal Family Policy Compliance Office, even if a school/university has designated certain student information as directory information, it can still withhold the information in its discretion.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-32-01

The city manager cannot invoke the working papers exemption to protect draft budget proposals. Because those documents are routinely generated pursuant to another law, which characterizes them as the city council's property, during the ordinary course of business, they are subject to mandatory disclosure under FOIA.

Connell v. Kersey

(NOTE: The 2002 General Assembly added an amendment to FOIA reversing this decision and making clear that all constitutional offices are subject to FOI law.)

Present: All the Justices

JAMES G. CONNELL III v ANDREW KERSEY

OPINION BY JUSTICE LAWRENCE L. KOONTZ, JR.

Record No. 001729

June 8, 2001

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF FAIRFAX COUNTY
Jane Marum Roush, Judge

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-29-01

Parent is entitled to view school investigatory records relating to his/her child, but portions identifying other students, teachers or attorney-client privileged information may be withheld.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-30-01

A specific provision outside of FOIA prohibits the release of investigatory files by the Board of Social Work, even to the subject of the file.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-27-01

There is no blanket exemption preventing the Commissioner of Revenue from releasing any information; the legal name of a business on the commissioner's tax roles is subject to disclosure.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-28-01

Actions taken pertaining to a specific school employee may be withheld, but also may be disclosed; the name, salary and job assignment of school employees must be disclosed.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-25-01

Government entity may charge the actual cost, including an hourly rate for the time reasonably necessary, to fulfill an FOIA request.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-22-01

Attorney-client privilege exemption gives record custodian discretion to release as much or as little of exempt record to anyone; distribution to one person does not destroy the exemption.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-21-01

Regarding duty to explain how the actual cost of searching for records was calculated; consecutive requests must be treated separately; public body may require a deposit if cost of providing records would exceed $200.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-16-01

List of concealed handgun permit holders is a public record.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-17-01

With respect to the Governor's Development Opportunity Fund, records used for the governor's personal or deliberative use are exempt, but records related to how grants are awarded or loans made are subject to disclosure under FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-15-01

The professional qualifications of a public official are considered part of that official's personnel record and thus may be withheld.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-13-01

Regarding directory information held by a school system and duties under FOIA when a requested record does not exist.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-10-01

Section 60.2-114(A) prohibits the release of audit information related to employer compliance with employee earnings requirements.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-11-01

Lists of businesses to whom licenses have been issued or lists of individuals or businesses on a locality's tax rolls are available under FOIA if they exist.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-01

A public body may charge $.25 per page for copies as long as that charge does not exceed the actual cost of providing the record.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-01

Videotapes taken from a camera mounted on a public school bus are not available for disclosure under FOIA or FERPA unless the written consent of every parent of every identifiable child is obtained.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-01

In consultation with legal counsel, the public body is the holder of the attorney-client privilege and so may disclose information it wishes; merely discussing an exempt document does not kill an applicable exemption.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-01

noncriminal incident police reports are available under FOIA, though police may excise personal identifying information; phone director of city employees, if it exists, is subject to disclosure under FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-01

The personnel records exemption allows the withholding of personally identifiable information regarding a applicant's education and qualificiations; specific classes taken by city manager part of personnel record, too.

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