To Whom Applicable: Public Bodies

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-11

A rescue squad which is a town department is subject to FOIA for records purposes, but is not subject to the open meetings requirements of FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-09

The Virginia State Bar is a public body subject to FOIA. A task force created by a public employee to advise that employee is not a public body. Records in the possession of a public body or employee in the transaction of public business are public records. Questions regarding constitutional separation of powers are beyond the statutory authority of the FOIA Council. Public bodies do not have to create records that do not already exist in order to respond to a records request, but must inform the requester that the records do not exist.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-11-09

An advisory group created by a public body to advise the public body would itself be a public body subject to FOIA. However, such a group created by a public employee to advise the employee would not be a public body. Likewise, such an advisory group would not be a public body if it was self-appointed.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-09-09

A nonprofit foundation that raises funds from private sources to pay for its own operations and to provide financial support to a government entity is not a public body subject to FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-09

Boards of equalization are public bodies and are required to keep minutes of their meetings. Even before law takes effect July 1, 2009, minutes should be in writing. Audio recordings cannot be a substitute. Votes must be recorded, though those who vote need not be identified.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-09

The Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia is an agency of the Commonwealth supported wholly or principally by public funds; opinion also address response time, and failure to respond properly.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-08

As a general rule, an individual member of a board, designated as a liaison to staff, is not a public body for meetings purposes. Records prepared, owned, or possessed by that member in the transaction of public business are public records subject to FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-11-08

A record that is not prepared, owned, or possessed in the transaction of public business is not a public record subject to FOIA. When conducting private business, public officials and employees (in this case, a university law professor) should avoid indicia, such as agency letterhead, that make private records appear to carry the imprimatur of a public body.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-10-08

The records of a community center created and funded by local government, operated by a nonprofit organization acting pursuant to a contract with the local government, are public records subject to FOIA.

Giarratano v. Johson (4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals)

Virginia Freedom of Information Act's prohibition on prisoner use for records not related to their court cases is constitutionally sound.

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