FOI Advisory Council subcommittee on meeting minutes


NOTE: The subcommittee was convened to study whether a change needs to be made to the minutes requirement of FOIA. 2.2-3707(I): "...Minutes shall include, but are not limited to, (i) the date, time, and location of the meeting; (ii) the members of the public body recorded as present and absent; and (iii) a summary of the discussion on matters proposed, deliberated or decided, and a record of any votes taken."

The issue was prompted by some local governments starting to use services like BoardDocs, which produce comprehensive agendas (with links to all supporting documents), as well as sound recordings of the entire meeting. The question was whether those recorded minutes met the 3707(I) minutes requirement.

Presentation on BoardDocs by Fred Morton, Superintendent of Henrico Public Schools.

   saving a lot of $$ by using BoardDocs and saves time (once the start-up process was overcome)

   requires members to be disciplined about identifying themselves or identifying who is speaking

   there is a public version and a board version

[i was following along -- with high speed -- and it was taking a long time to download]

   Question: can you tell when the version of a document was posted? Can you have confidence that this is the version that was presented vs. a corrected one?
   Answer: you have to have faith

   Requires staff diligence -- this is the historical record -- and the start-up learning curve is pretty steep.

   Mechanism for being able to open multiple documents in different windows at the same time.

   Security: Multiple servers to back up material, and files are saved locally.

   Recorded files can be pinpointed in time w/ various media players, though not search by topic, subject, keyword, etc.

Roger Wiley doesn't like eliminating the written form -- it's historically been the historical record. 50 years from now, someone may not want to slog through everything just to get the precise point, and a CD has to be constantly reevaluated to verify they're accessible (SandraTreadway says CDs are not considered archival quality yet).

Maria Everett wonders what a board "approves" in terms of minutes if all there is is the recorded version

Though the statute doesn't say the minutes have to be in writing, that has been assumed and has been the common practice.

The subcommittee eventually recommends to clarify statute that minutes are written. Roger Wiley, Courtney Malveaux and Sandra Treadway vote in favor; E.M. Miller votes no.

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