From a practical perspective, it may be helpful to both you and the person receiving your request to put your request in writing. This allows you to create a record of your request. It also gives us a clear statement of what records you are requesting, so that there is no misunderstanding over a verbal request. However, we cannot refuse to respond to your FOIA request just because you choose to not put it in writing.
For example, if you are requesting records maintained in an Excel database, you may elect to receive those records electronically, via e-mail or on a computer disk, or to receive a printed copy of those records.
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located § 2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.
A public record is any writing or recording -- regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format -- that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific statutory exemption applies.
The stated purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness of governmental activities by all persons. To promote this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.
The following is a general description of the types of records held by the County:
If you are unsure whether the County has the record(s) you seek, please contact Mr. Harvie at the email address or phone number shown above.
The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public disclosure. The County generally does withhold records that fall under the following exemptions:
PLEASE NOTE: Amelia County’s elected constitutional officers -- the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Sheriff, Treasurer. Commissioner of the Revenue, and Clerk of Circuit Court -- as well as the County’s Electoral Board and General Registrar, are the legal custodians of their own records, and have separate disclosure exemptions applicable to some of their records. If we receive a request for records that are held by one of those officials we will refer the requester to that official as described above.
In addition, the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer any questions you may have about FOIA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , or phone: (804) 225-3056 or [toll free] 1-866-448-4100.
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James L. Hamner Public Library