Freedom of Information Act

Town of Pulaski Notice of

Rights and Responsibilities Under

Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

 

As a citizen in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you have the right to certain public records. 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. FOIA does not require a public body to create records that do not already exist. The Town of Pulaski performs business in an open and public manner as required by Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act. FOIA is found in the Code of Virginia beginning at Section 2.2—3700. The Town believes citizens should have reasonable access to the inspection and copying of public records to further the accountability of local government. Listed below is the procedure the Town adheres to for responding to public records requests made pursuant to FOIA.

1. You have the right to:

  • Request to inspect or receive copies of public records, or both;
  • Request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance;
  • File a petition in general district or circuit court seeking compliance with FOIA, if you believe your rights have been violated, or to contact the FOIA Council for a nonbinding advisory opinion.

    2.The Freedom of Information Act allows five business days, the first being the day after your request, to make one of the following responses in writing:

  • Providing all of the records to you.
  • Advising you that all of the records are being withheld and why the records requested are exempted or excluded (not required to be provided) by FOIA guidelines.
  • Provide some of the records you requested but withhold others. If some portion of a record is exempt from production, we may redact (mark through or cover) that portion and produce the rest of the record to you. If we provide you a portion of the record or records requested, we must tell you the specific sections of FOIA that we are relying on to withhold portions of the records.
  • Inform you that we have no records responsive to your request (we do not have the records you want) but if we know another public body have the requested records, we must give you the contact information for that other public body.
  • Advise you as to if and why the Town would need additional time. If it is practically impossible for the Town to respond to your request within the five-day period, we must state this in writing, explaining the conditions that make the response impossible. This will allow us seven additional working days to respond to your request, giving us a total of 12 working days to respond. If you make a request for a very large number of records, and we feel that we cannot provide the records to you within 12 working days without disrupting our other organizational responsibilities, we may petition the court for additional time to respond to your request. However, FOIA requires that we make a reasonable effort to reach an agreement with you concerning the production of the records before we go to court to ask for more time.

 

3. The Town has designated Olivia Hale as FOIA Officer, in addition to the Town Attorney, to assist in and respond to FOIA requests. Olivia Hale maybe reached:

  • In person or in writing at 42 First Street/ P.O. Box 660 Pulaski, VA 24301
  • By telephone at (540) 994-8602
  • By Fax at (540) 994-8699
  • By email at [email protected]

Requests may be made by U.S. Mail, email, fax, or in person, but it is helpful to put your request in writing.

4. The types of public records the Town of Pulaski maintains include:

  • Meeting agendas and minutes
  • Records of Public contracts
  • Ordinances and resolutions
  • Personnel records concerning employees and officials of the Town
  • Records relating to Economic Development project of the Town

5. The Town of Pulaski routinely withholds certain records from release as permitted or required by the Freedom of Information Act or other laws. Exemptions or exclusions that require public records to be withheld from release are set forth in the Code of Virginia, §2.2 – 3705.1 - §2.2 – 3706 and include such items as:

  • Personnel records.
  • Written advice of legal counsel to state, regional or local public bodies or the officers or employees of such bodies and any other records protected by attorney – client privilege.
  • Records relating to the negotiation and award of a specific contract where competition or bargaining is involved and where the release of such records would adversely affect the bargaining position or negotiating strategy of the public body.
  • Vendor proprietary information.

6. A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying or searching for the requested records. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. All charges for the supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the citizen, as set forth in Subsection (F), Section 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia.

7. Before processing a request for records, a public body may require the requester to pay any amounts owed to the public body for previous requests for records that remain unpaid 30 days or more after billing. (§2.2 – 3704, Subsection (I) of the Code of Virginia)

8. The above notice is pursuant to Virginia Code § 2.2-3704.1 and does not limit or alter a citizen’s or the Town of Pulaski’s rights or responsibilities under FOIA (currently, Virginia Code §§ 2.2-3700 – 2.2-3714). In the event of any conflict with this notice, the provisions of FOIA or other applicable law shall control.

Freedom of Information Act Request Form

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