Informal Gatherings

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 Opinon AO-02-06

Gathering of quorum from both a town council and a planning commission, on a topic that had once been before the council and was likely to be before it again, should have been advertised to the public as a joint meeting of both entities.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-15-04

A citizen-organized gathering with three members of a school board for the purpose of discussing business currently pending before the board must comply with FOIA's notice provisions.

Beck v. Shelton

FOIA does not apply to members-elect. Exchange of multiple e-mails over a several-hour period not an illegal electronic meeting. Neighborhood meeting no FOIA violation.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-02

Meetings of private organizations are not subject to FOIA. The attendance of elected officials at a private meeting does not convert the gathering to a public meeting as long as the officials did not arrange their attendance to discuss or transact public business.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-46-01

Though meetings with staff and government employees are not usually subject to FOIA, they are if they include a quorum of a public body's members. Informal gatherings - pre-meeting, post-meeting or some other time - are still meetings that must comply with FOIA if their purpose is to discuss public business.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-40-01

A gathering of four of five members of a governing body prior to a regularly scheduled meeting is prohibited if the members are discussing public business, but is not prohibited if public business is not being discussed.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-01

A school board member's attendance as a member of the general public at a meeting of a committee that two fellow school board members are on does not constitute a meeting of the school board.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-00

The informal gathering of three members of the Norfolk Wetlands Board to tour the site of an applicant for a dredging permit is considered a meeting under FOIA because it necessarily concerns the transaction of public business

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


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