FOIA Information

Request Form:  FOIA Request Form
  
Office Hours:
8:30a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday
The office is located on the second floor in the Administration Building

Department Address:
1800 Sandy Hook Road P.O.Box 10 Goochland, Virginia 23063
Phone: (804) 556-5811
Fax: (804) 556-4617

Freedom of Information Act Administrative Procedures

§
2.2-3704(A) of the Code of Virginia:

A. Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, all public records shall be open to citizens of the Commonwealth, representatives of newspapers and magazines with circulation in the Commonwealth, and representatives of radio and television stations broadcasting in or into the Commonwealth during the regular office hours of the custodian of such records. Access to such records shall be provided by the custodian in accordance with this chapter by inspection or by providing copies of the requested records, at the option of the requester. The custodian may require the requester to provide his name and legal address. The custodian of such records shall take all necessary precautions for their preservation and safekeeping.


Purpose



To establish standard guidelines for County personnel responding to written or verbal requests for information submitted under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). § 2.2- 3700, et seq. of the Code of Virginia. A FOIA Coordinator
(L. Beczkiewicz) shall be designated by the County Administrator.


Background
  
1.     Citizens of the Commonwealth, representatives of newspapers and magazines with circulation in the Commonwealth and representatives of  radio and television stations broadcasting in or into the Commonwealth may request records under FOIA.

2.     Requests for records may be done by mail, fax, e-mail, in person, or over the phone.
 
3.     The requester must identify the records requested with "reasonable specificity.” FOIA does not require that the request 
        be in writing, nor does the requestor need to specifically state that they are requesting records under FOIA. However, 
        you may ask for the requester's name   and legal address. From a practical perspective it would be helpful to ask for the request in writing. This provides a record of the request   and also provides the County with a clear statement of what records are being requested so there is no misunderstanding. If there are Verbal clarifications made to a written request, make notes on the written request, initial and date the clarification(s) and provide a copy to   the requestor.
 
4.     Requests must be responded to within five (5) working days from the date of the request. Failure to respond to a 
        request within the specified time shall be deemed a denial of the request and constitutes a violation of FOIA.
 
5.    There are five permissible responses to a request:

        a. Provide the requested records to the requester;
 
        b. The requested records are being entirely withheld because their release is prohibited by law or the custodian has 
             exercised his discretion to withhold the records in accordance with FOIA;
 
        c. The requested records are being provided in part and are being withheld in part because the release of part of the 
             records is prohibited by law or the custodian has exercised his discretion to withhold a portion of the records in 
             accordance with FOIA;
  
        d. The requested records could not be found or do not exist. However, if the public body that received the request 
             knows that another public body has the requested records, the response shall include contact information for the 
             other public body; or
  
        e. It is not practically possible to provide the requested records OR to determine whether they are available within the 
            five-work-day period, and the public body needs an additional seven work days in which to provide one of the four 
            preceding responses.
 
6.    The County may charge its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for requested 
        records.  Generally, the person requesting records under FOIA will be expected to pay the associated cost for all but 
        simple and routine requests.

        a. Copying/duplicating charges must not exceed the actual cost of those services. The County has determined its 
            basic in-house copying/duplicating charge to be $0.20 per page. The in-house copying/duplicating charge for a CD     is $1.00. Requests for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) records will be charged pursuant to the fee schedule 
            established by the Department of   Community Development. Otherwise, commercial copy service charges will       apply.  In addition to the copying/duplicating charge(s) above, the employee’s time to access, supply, duplicate or     search for the records, as well as any mailing or delivering   charge(s) should also be added.
 
        b. If it is determined that supplying the requested records will likely exceed $200, the County may require a deposit. If     an advance deposit is requested, the five-working- day period is tolled until the deposit is paid. If it is determined       that supplying the requested   records will result in a direct cost to the County of less than $5, then no charge will be 
            assessed to the requestor.
 
        c. The County may require the requester to pay any amounts owed for previous requests that remain unpaid thirty       days or more after billing before responding to the new request.
 
        d. The FOIA Coordinator or the custodian of the records, as may be appropriate, may adjust the above charges 
            depending upon the complexity of the request.

Application
  
 
These procedures shall apply to requests for routine and non-routine requests. Routine requests shall include but are not limited to requests for Board or Commission minutes and agendas, and other readily-available and commonly produced records. Non-routine requests shall include but are not limited to financial transactions and documents; confidential electronic and written correspondence; legal documents; settlements; and personnel matters.

1. Routine Request


  
  
        a. In many instances, the department receiving the request can handle it routinely, where such records are readily 
            available; easily accessible within that department; commonly-produced and clearly identifiable as a public record;     not subject to exemptions under FOIA or other laws; and minimal time is required.
 
        b. Department heads shall communicate to their staff the method in which to handle routine requests in their         department.
 
        c. If at any time an employee has any questions about FOIA, a specific request, or whether a record should be       excluded or costs be assessed, they should immediately contact the FOIA Coordinator. In the FOIA Coordinator’s 
            absence, please contact the County Attorney’s office for assistance.
 

2. Non-Routine Request


  
 
        a. All non-routine requests must be sent to the FOIA Coordinator. In the FOIA Coordinator’s absence, please send 
            requests to the County Attorney’s office.
 
        b. The applicable department(s), FOIA Coordinator, County Attorney and County Administrator or his/her designee       shall work together to address compliance with FOIA, production, fees and the timeframe required to respond.       Records relating to non-routine requests shall not be released until the County Attorney and the FOIA Coordinator     have reviewed them to determine that   protected materials are excluded and FOIA’s requirements for exemptions     have been met.  Once the proposed written response has been reviewed by the County Attorney, the FOIA         Coordinator shall submit the written response to the County Administrator.  Written responses to non- routine FOIA     requests shall be issued only under the signature of the County Administrator or his/her designee.

 Amended July 13, 2010