Working Papers/Memoranda/Correspondence Exemption

FOI Advisory Council opinion AO-02-23

A Governor-elect's transition teams generally would not be public bodies subject to FOIA unless they are supported wholly or principally by public funds. Transition team records might be public records subject to FOIA (i) if the transition team is a public body because it is supported by public funds or (ii) if transition team records are possessed by another public body in the transaction of public business. Applying FOIA's narrow construction rule for exemptions, the working papers and correspondence exemption, subdivision 2 of § 2.2-3705.7, may only be used by those listed in the exemption itself. While the "Office of the Governor" is listed in the exemption, "Governor-elect" is not and therefore, a Governor-elect may not use the working papers and correspondence exemption.

Sawyers v. Prince William County School Board

Direct messages sent by school superintendent through Twitter's direct message platform are "correspondence" that can be withheld under the "working papers and correspondence" exemption of FOIA, 2.2-3705.7(2).

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-18

Discusses the use of the contract negotiations and economic development records exemptions. FOIA allows a records custodian to disclose exempt records in his discretion. Also discuss the working papers exemption as it applies to Cabinet Secretaries.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-16

Records that have been prepared by or for the Office of the Governor for personal or deliberative use may be withheld as working papers. However, if those records are disseminated by the Office of the Governor to another agency for that agency's use in carrying out its statutory duties, then the records may not be withheld as working papers because they are no longer for personal or deliberative use of the Office of the Governor. Pursuant to subsection B of § 24.2-404, FOIA does not apply to records about individuals maintained in the voter registration system.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-17-04

the working papers exemption does not expire unless the working papers are disseminated or otherwise made public by the official to whom the exemption applies. Absent such a release, a record created by or for one of the named officials for his personal or deliberative use retains the characterization of a working paper.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-04

A master plan document required to be submitted to a housing authority, that comes into the director's possession during the ordinary course of business, is not a working paper.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-02

To claim the working papers exemption, a locality can have only one chief executive, such as the mayor or the city manager. The choice is based on the form of government and the charter, not a title. Whichever one it is, a locality cannot switch back and forth from one to the other.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-50-01

A county administrator, as the chief executive officer of a county, can withhold correspondence between her and the board of supervisors under the working papers exemption.

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.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-00

once city council members acted on a report that was arguably part of the city manager's working papers, any exempt status is lost and the document becomes part of the public record.


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