Rights & Responsibilities:

The Rights of Requesters and the Responsibilities of the Town of Abingdon under the Virginia
Freedom of Information Act

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 policy of FOIA states that the purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities.  In furthering 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.

Your FOIA Rights

  • You have the right to request to inspect or receive copies of public records, or both.
  • You have the right to request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance.
  • If you believe that your FOIA rights have been violated, you may file a petition in district or circuit court to compel compliance with FOIA.  Alternatively, you may contact the FOIA Council for a nonbinding advisory opinion.

Making a Request for records from the Town of Abingdon

  • You may request records by U.S. Mail, fax, e-mail, in person, or over the phone.  FOIA does not require that your request be in writing, nor do you need to specifically state that you are requesting records under FOIA.
    • 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 if you elect to not put it in writing.
  • Your request must identify the records you are seeking with “reasonable specificity.”  This is a common-sense standard.  It does not refer to or limit the volume or number of records that you are requesting; instead, it requires that you be specific enough so that we can identify and locate the records that you are seeking.
  • Your request must ask for existing records or documents.  FOIA gives you a right to inspect or copy records; it does not apply to a situation where you are asking general questions about the work of any department in the Town of Abingdon, nor does it require said department to create a record that does not exist.
  • You may choose to receive electronic records in any format used by the Town of Abingdon in the regular course of business.
    • 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
  • If we have questions about your request, please cooperate with staff’s efforts to clarify the type of records
    that you are seeking, or to attempt to reach a reasonable agreement about a response to a large request.  Making a FOIA request is not an adversarial process, but we may need to discuss your request with you to ensure that we understand what records you are seeking.

To request records from the Town of Abingdon, you may direct your request to Deborah C. Icenhour, Esq., FOIA Officer, 133 West Main Street, P O Box 789, Abingdon, Virginia 24212-0789; 276.492.2138; fax: 276.698.3328; foia@abingdon-va.gov. 

You may also contact her with questions you have concerning requesting records from the Town of Abingdon.  In addition, the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer any questions you may have about FOIA.  The Council may be contacted by e-mail at foiacouncil@dls.virginia.gov, or by phone at (804) 225-3056 or [toll free] 1-866-448-4100.

REQUEST DOCUMENT FORM

The Town of Abingdon’s Responsibilities in Responding to Your Request 

  • The Town of Abingdon must respond to your request within five working days of receiving it.  “Day One” is considered the day after your request is received.  The five-day period does not include weekends or holidays.
  • The reason behind your request for public records from the Town of Abingdon is irrelevant, and you do not have to state why you want the records before we respond to your request.  FOIA does, however, allow The Town of Abingdon to require you to provide your name and legal address.
  • FOIA requires that the Town of Abingdon make one of the following responses to your request within the five-day time period:
  • We provide you with the records that you have requested in their entirety.
  • We withhold all of the records that you have requested, because all of the records are subject to a specific statutory exemption. If all of the records are being withheld, we must send you a response in writing.  That writing must identify the volume and subject matter of the records being withheld, and state the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows us to withhold the records.
  • We provide some of the records that you have requested, but withhold other records. We cannot withhold an entire record if only a portion of it is subject to an exemption.  In that instance, we may redact the portion of the record that may be withheld, and must provide you with the remainder of the record.  We must provide you with a written response stating the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows portions of the requested records to be withheld.
  • We inform you in writing that the requested records cannot be found or do not exist (we do not have the records you want). However, if we know that another public body has the requested records, we must include contact information for the other public body in our response to you.
  • If it is practically impossible for the Town of Abingdon 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 to your request.
  • 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 or the records before we go to court to ask for more time.

 

Costs

  • 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 of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia.
  • You may have to pay for the records that you request from The Town of Abingdon.  FOIA allows us to charge for the actual costs of responding to FOIA requests.  This would include items like staff time spent searching for the requested records, copying costs, or any other costs directly related to supplying the requested records.  It cannot include general overhead costs.
  • If we estimate that it will cost more than $200 to respond to your request, we may require you to pay a deposit, not to exceed the amount of the estimate, before proceeding with your request.  The five days that we have to respond to your request does not include the time between when we ask for a deposit and when you respond.
  • You may request that we estimate in advance the charges for supplying the records that you have requested.  This will allow you to know about any costs upfront, or give you the opportunity to modify your request in an attempt to lower the estimated costs.
  • If you owe us money from a previous FOIA request that has remained unpaid for more than 30 days, the Town of Abingdon may require payment of the past-due bill before it will respond to your new FOIA request.

Town of Abingdon records

The Town of Abingdon holds records related to the following:

  • Personnel records concerning employees and officials of the Town of Abingdon
  • Records of contracts which the Town of Abingdon has entered into with confidential court documents
  • Tax Records
  • Utility (sewer) account information
  • Plats, building licensure, business licensure, etc.

If you are unsure whether the Town of Abingdon has the record(s) you seek, please contact Deborah C. Icenhour, Town Attorney directly at 133 West Main Street, P O Box 789, Abingdon, Virginia 24212-0789; 276.492.2138; fax: 276.698.3328; foia@abingdon-va.gov.

Commonly used exemptions

The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public disclosure.  The Town of Abingdon commonly withholds records subject to the following exemptions:

VIRGINIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ADVISORYCOUNCIL
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

Records Exemptions of General Applicability

§ 2.2-3705.1 (1): Personnel. Provides an exemption for:

Personnel records containing information concerning identifiable individuals, except that access shall not be denied to the person who is the subject thereof. Any person who is the subject of any personnel record and who is 18 years of age or older may waive, in writing, the protections afforded by this subdivision. If the protections are so waived, the public body shall open such records for inspection and copying.
§ 2.2-3705.1 (2): Attorney-client privilege. Provides an exemption for:

Written advice of legal counsel to state, regional or local public bodies or the officers or employees of such public bodies, and any other records protected by the attorney-client privilege.
§ 2.2-3705.1 (3): Attorney work product. Provides an exemption for:

Legal memoranda and other work product compiled specifically for use in litigation or for use in an active administrative investigation concerning a matter that is properly the subject of a closed meeting under § 2.2-3711.
§ 2.2-3705.1 (4): Tests and examinations. Provides an exemption for:

Any test or examination used, administered or prepared by any public body for purposes of evaluation of (i) any student or any student’s performance, (ii) any employee or employment seeker’s qualifications or aptitude for employment, retention, or promotion, or (iii) qualifications for any license or certificate issued by a public body.

As used in this subdivision, “test or examination” shall include (a) any scoring key for any such test or examination and (b) any other document that would jeopardize the security of the test or examination. Nothing contained in this subdivision shall prohibit the release of test scores or results as provided by law, or limit access to individual records as provided by law. However, the subject of such employment tests shall be entitled to review and inspect all records relative to his performance on such employment tests.

When, in the reasonable opinion of such public body, any such test or examination no longer has any potential for future use, and the security of future tests or examinations will not be jeopardized, the test or examination shall be made available to the public. However, minimum competency tests administered to public school children shall be made available to the public contemporaneously with statewide release of the scores of those taking such tests, but in no event shall such tests be made available to the public later than six months after the administration of such tests.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (5): Closed meetings. Provides an exemption for:

Records recorded in or compiled exclusively for use in closed meetings lawfully held pursuant to § 2.2-3711. However, no record that is otherwise open to inspection under this chapter shall be deemed exempt by virtue of the fact that it has been reviewed or discussed in a closed meeting.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (6): Vendor proprietary information. Provides an exemption for:

Vendor proprietary information software that may be in the official records of a public body. For the purpose of this subdivision, “vendor proprietary software” means computer programs acquired from a vendor for purposes of processing data for agencies or political subdivisions of the Commonwealth.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (7): Computer software. Provides an exemption for:

Computer software developed by or for a state agency, state-supported institution of higher education or political subdivision of the Commonwealth.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (8): Cost estimates of real property. Provides an exemption for:

Appraisals and cost estimates of real property subject to a proposed purchase, sale or lease, prior to the completion of such purchase, sale or lease.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (10): Certain personal information. Provides an exemption for:

Personal information, as defined in § 2.2-3801, including electronic mail addresses, furnished to a public body for the purpose of receiving electronic mail from the public body, provided that the electronic mail recipient has requested that the public body not disclose such information. However, access shall not be denied to the person who is the subject of the record.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (12): Contracts. Provides an exemption for:

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. Such records shall not be withheld after the public body has made a decision to award or not to award the contract. In the case of procurement transactions conducted pursuant to the Virginia Public Procurement Act (§ 2.2-4300 et seq.), the provisions of this subdivision shall not apply, and any release of records relating to such transactions shall be governed by the Virginia Public Procurement Act.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (13): Account Numbers. Provides an exemption for:

Those portions of records that contain account numbers or routing information for any credit card, debit card, or other account with a financial institution of any person or public body. However, access shall not be denied to the person who is the subject of the record. For the purposes of this subdivision, “financial institution” means any organization authorized to do business under state or federal laws relating to financial institutions, including, without limitation, banks and trust companies, savings banks, savings and loan companies or associations, and credit unions.

§ 2.2-3705.2 (2): Certain engineering and construction plans. Provides an exemption for:

Those portions of engineering and construction drawings and plans submitted for the sole purpose of complying with the Building Code in obtaining a building permit that would identify specific trade secrets or other information the disclosure of which would be harmful to the competitive position of the owner or lessee. However, such information shall be exempt only until the building is completed. Information relating to the safety or environmental soundness of any building shall not be exempt from disclosure.

Those portions of engineering and construction drawings and plans that reveal critical structural components, security equipment and systems, ventilation systems, fire protection equipment, mandatory building emergency equipment or systems, elevators, electrical systems, telecommunications equipment and systems, and other utility equipment and systems submitted for the purpose of complying with the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.) or the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.), the disclosure of which would jeopardize the safety or security of any public or private commercial office, multi-family residential or retail building or its occupants in the event of terrorism or other threat to public safety, to the extent that the owner or lessee of such property, equipment or system in writing (i) invokes the protections of this paragraph; (ii) identifies the drawings, plans, or other materials to be protected; and (iii) states the reasons why protection is necessary.
Nothing in this subdivision shall prevent the disclosure of information relating to any building in connection with an inquiry into the performance of that building after it has been subjected to fire, explosion, natural disaster or other catastrophic event.

§ 2.2-3705.2 (3): Security systems. Provides an exemption for:

Documentation or other information that describes the design, function, operation or access control features of any security system, whether manual or automated, which is used to control access to or use of any automated data processing or telecommunications system.

§ 2.2-3705.2 (4): Plans to respond to terrorist activity. Provides an exemption for:

Plans and information to prevent or respond to terrorist activity, the disclosure of which would jeopardize the safety of any person, including (i) critical infrastructure sector or structural components; (ii) vulnerability assessments, operational, procedural, transportation, and tactical planning or training manuals, and staff meeting minutes or other records; and (iii) engineering or architectural records, or records containing information derived from such records, to the extent such records reveal the location or operation of security equipment and systems, elevators, ventilation, fire protection, emergency, electrical, telecommunications or utility equipment and systems of any public building, structure or information storage facility. The same categories of records of any governmental or nongovernmental person or entity submitted to a public body for the purpose of antiterrorism response planning may be withheld from disclosure if such person or entity in writing (a) invokes the protections of this subdivision, (b) identifies with specificity the records or portions thereof for which protection is sought, and (c) states with reasonable particularity why the protection of such records from public disclosure is necessary to meet the objective of antiterrorism planning or protection. Such statement shall be a public record and shall be disclosed upon request. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit the disclosure of records relating to the structural or environmental soundness of any building, nor shall it prevent the disclosure of information relating to any building in connection with an inquiry into the performance of that building after it has been subjected to fire, explosion, natural disaster or other catastrophic event.

§ 2.2-3705.2 (6): Security of facilities. Provides an exemption for:

Engineering and architectural drawings, operational, procedural, tactical planning or training manuals, or staff meeting minutes or other records, the disclosure of which would reveal surveillance techniques, personnel deployments, alarm or security systems or technologies, or operational and transportation plans or protocols, to the extent such disclosure would jeopardize the security of any governmental facility, building or structure or the safety of persons using such facility, building or structure.

§ 2.2-3705.4 (1): Students. Provides an exemption for:

Scholastic records containing information concerning identifiable individuals, except that such access shall not be denied to the person who is the subject thereof, or the parent or legal guardian of the student. However, no student shall have access to (i) financial records of a parent or guardian or (ii) records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel and educational personnel ancillary thereto, which are in the sole possession of the maker thereof and that are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute.

The parent or legal guardian of a student may prohibit, by written request, the release of any individual information regarding that student until the student reaches the age of 18 years. For scholastic records of students under the age of 18 years, the right of access may be asserted only by his legal guardian or parent, including a noncustodial parent, unless such parent’s parental rights have been terminated or a court of competent jurisdiction has restricted or denied such access. For scholastic records of students who are emancipated or attending a state-supported institution of higher education, the right of access may be asserted by the student.
Any person who is the subject of any scholastic record and who is 18 years of age or older may waive, in writing, the protections afforded by this subdivision. If the protections are so waived, the public body shall open such records for inspection and copying.

§ 2.2-3705.5 (1): Health. Provides an exemption for:

Health records, except that such records may be personally reviewed by the individual who is the subject of such records, as provided in subsection F of § 32.1-127.1:03.

Where the person who is the subject of medical records is confined in a state or local correctional facility, the administrator or chief medical officer of such facility may assert such confined person’s right of access to the medical records if the administrator or chief medical officer has reasonable cause to believe that such confined person has an infectious disease or other medical condition from which other persons so confined need to be protected. Medical records shall only be reviewed and shall not be copied by such administrator or chief medical officer. The information in the medical records of a person so confined shall continue to be confidential and shall not be disclosed by the administrator or chief medical officer of the facility to any person except the subject or except as provided by law.
Where the person who is the subject of medical and mental records is under the age of 18, his right of access may be asserted only by his guardian or his parent, including a noncustodial parent, unless such parent’s parental rights have been terminated or a court of competent jurisdiction has restricted or denied such access. In instances where the person who is the subject thereof is an emancipated minor or a student in a public institution of higher education, the right of access may be asserted by the subject person.
For the purposes of this chapter, statistical summaries of incidents and statistical data concerning patient abuse as may be compiled by the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services shall be open to inspection and copying as provided in § 2.2-3704. No such summaries or data shall include any patient-identifying information.

§ 2.2-3705.6(3): Economic development and retention. Provides an exemption for:

Confidential proprietary records, voluntarily provided by private business pursuant to a promise of confidentiality from a public body, used by the public body for business, trade and tourism development or retention; and memoranda, working papers or other records related to businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Virginia, prepared by a public body, where competition or bargaining is involved and where, if such records are made public, the financial interest of the public body would be adversely affected.


§ 2.2-3705.6 (10): Prequalification to bid.
 Provides an exemption for:

Confidential information designated as provided in subsection F of § 2.2-4342 as trade secrets or proprietary information by any person who has submitted to a public body an application for prequalification to bid on public construction projects in accordance with subsection B of § 2.2-4317.

VIRGINIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ADVISORYCOUNCIL
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

Records Exemptions of General Applicability

§ 2.2-3705.1 (1): Personnel. Provides an exemption for:

Personnel records containing information concerning identifiable individuals, except that access shall not be denied to the person who is the subject thereof. Any person who is the subject of any personnel record and who is 18 years of age or older may waive, in writing, the protections afforded by this subdivision. If the protections are so waived, the public body shall open such records for inspection and copying.
§ 2.2-3705.1 (2): Attorney-client privilege. Provides an exemption for:

Written advice of legal counsel to state, regional or local public bodies or the officers or employees of such public bodies, and any other records protected by the attorney-client privilege.
§ 2.2-3705.1 (3): Attorney work product. Provides an exemption for:

Legal memoranda and other work product compiled specifically for use in litigation or for use in an active administrative investigation concerning a matter that is properly the subject of a closed meeting under § 2.2-3711.
§ 2.2-3705.1 (4): Tests and examinations. Provides an exemption for:

Any test or examination used, administered or prepared by any public body for purposes of evaluation of (i) any student or any student’s performance, (ii) any employee or employment seeker’s qualifications or aptitude for employment, retention, or promotion, or (iii) qualifications for any license or certificate issued by a public body.

As used in this subdivision, “test or examination” shall include (a) any scoring key for any such test or examination and (b) any other document that would jeopardize the security of the test or examination. Nothing contained in this subdivision shall prohibit the release of test scores or results as provided by law, or limit access to individual records as provided by law. However, the subject of such employment tests shall be entitled to review and inspect all records relative to his performance on such employment tests.

When, in the reasonable opinion of such public body, any such test or examination no longer has any potential for future use, and the security of future tests or examinations will not be jeopardized, the test or examination shall be made available to the public. However, minimum competency tests administered to public school children shall be made available to the public contemporaneously with statewide release of the scores of those taking such tests, but in no event shall such tests be made available to the public later than six months after the administration of such tests.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (5): Closed meetings. Provides an exemption for:

Records recorded in or compiled exclusively for use in closed meetings lawfully held pursuant to § 2.2-3711. However, no record that is otherwise open to inspection under this chapter shall be deemed exempt by virtue of the fact that it has been reviewed or discussed in a closed meeting.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (6): Vendor proprietary information. Provides an exemption for:

Vendor proprietary information software that may be in the official records of a public body. For the purpose of this subdivision, “vendor proprietary software” means computer programs acquired from a vendor for purposes of processing data for agencies or political subdivisions of the Commonwealth.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (7): Computer software. Provides an exemption for:

Computer software developed by or for a state agency, state-supported institution of higher education or political subdivision of the Commonwealth.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (8): Cost estimates of real property. Provides an exemption for:

Appraisals and cost estimates of real property subject to a proposed purchase, sale or lease, prior to the completion of such purchase, sale or lease.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (10): Certain personal information. Provides an exemption for:

Personal information, as defined in § 2.2-3801, including electronic mail addresses, furnished to a public body for the purpose of receiving electronic mail from the public body, provided that the electronic mail recipient has requested that the public body not disclose such information. However, access shall not be denied to the person who is the subject of the record.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (12): Contracts. Provides an exemption for:

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. Such records shall not be withheld after the public body has made a decision to award or not to award the contract. In the case of procurement transactions conducted pursuant to the Virginia Public Procurement Act (§ 2.2-4300 et seq.), the provisions of this subdivision shall not apply, and any release of records relating to such transactions shall be governed by the Virginia Public Procurement Act.

§ 2.2-3705.1 (13): Account Numbers. Provides an exemption for:

Those portions of records that contain account numbers or routing information for any credit card, debit card, or other account with a financial institution of any person or public body. However, access shall not be denied to the person who is the subject of the record. For the purposes of this subdivision, “financial institution” means any organization authorized to do business under state or federal laws relating to financial institutions, including, without limitation, banks and trust companies, savings banks, savings and loan companies or associations, and credit unions.

§ 2.2-3705.2 (2): Certain engineering and construction plans. Provides an exemption for:

Those portions of engineering and construction drawings and plans submitted for the sole purpose of complying with the Building Code in obtaining a building permit that would identify specific trade secrets or other information the disclosure of which would be harmful to the competitive position of the owner or lessee. However, such information shall be exempt only until the building is completed. Information relating to the safety or environmental soundness of any building shall not be exempt from disclosure.

Those portions of engineering and construction drawings and plans that reveal critical structural components, security equipment and systems, ventilation systems, fire protection equipment, mandatory building emergency equipment or systems, elevators, electrical systems, telecommunications equipment and systems, and other utility equipment and systems submitted for the purpose of complying with the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.) or the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.), the disclosure of which would jeopardize the safety or security of any public or private commercial office, multi-family residential or retail building or its occupants in the event of terrorism or other threat to public safety, to the extent that the owner or lessee of such property, equipment or system in writing (i) invokes the protections of this paragraph; (ii) identifies the drawings, plans, or other materials to be protected; and (iii) states the reasons why protection is necessary.
Nothing in this subdivision shall prevent the disclosure of information relating to any building in connection with an inquiry into the performance of that building after it has been subjected to fire, explosion, natural disaster or other catastrophic event.

§ 2.2-3705.2 (3): Security systems. Provides an exemption for:

Documentation or other information that describes the design, function, operation or access control features of any security system, whether manual or automated, which is used to control access to or use of any automated data processing or telecommunications system.

§ 2.2-3705.2 (4): Plans to respond to terrorist activity. Provides an exemption for:

Plans and information to prevent or respond to terrorist activity, the disclosure of which would jeopardize the safety of any person, including (i) critical infrastructure sector or structural components; (ii) vulnerability assessments, operational, procedural, transportation, and tactical planning or training manuals, and staff meeting minutes or other records; and (iii) engineering or architectural records, or records containing information derived from such records, to the extent such records reveal the location or operation of security equipment and systems, elevators, ventilation, fire protection, emergency, electrical, telecommunications or utility equipment and systems of any public building, structure or information storage facility. The same categories of records of any governmental or nongovernmental person or entity submitted to a public body for the purpose of antiterrorism response planning may be withheld from disclosure if such person or entity in writing (a) invokes the protections of this subdivision, (b) identifies with specificity the records or portions thereof for which protection is sought, and (c) states with reasonable particularity why the protection of such records from public disclosure is necessary to meet the objective of antiterrorism planning or protection. Such statement shall be a public record and shall be disclosed upon request. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit the disclosure of records relating to the structural or environmental soundness of any building, nor shall it prevent the disclosure of information relating to any building in connection with an inquiry into the performance of that building after it has been subjected to fire, explosion, natural disaster or other catastrophic event.

§ 2.2-3705.2 (6): Security of facilities. Provides an exemption for:

Engineering and architectural drawings, operational, procedural, tactical planning or training manuals, or staff meeting minutes or other records, the disclosure of which would reveal surveillance techniques, personnel deployments, alarm or security systems or technologies, or operational and transportation plans or protocols, to the extent such disclosure would jeopardize the security of any governmental facility, building or structure or the safety of persons using such facility, building or structure.

§ 2.2-3705.4 (1): Students. Provides an exemption for:

Scholastic records containing information concerning identifiable individuals, except that such access shall not be denied to the person who is the subject thereof, or the parent or legal guardian of the student. However, no student shall have access to (i) financial records of a parent or guardian or (ii) records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel and educational personnel ancillary thereto, which are in the sole possession of the maker thereof and that are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute.

The parent or legal guardian of a student may prohibit, by written request, the release of any individual information regarding that student until the student reaches the age of 18 years. For scholastic records of students under the age of 18 years, the right of access may be asserted only by his legal guardian or parent, including a noncustodial parent, unless such parent’s parental rights have been terminated or a court of competent jurisdiction has restricted or denied such access. For scholastic records of students who are emancipated or attending a state-supported institution of higher education, the right of access may be asserted by the student.
Any person who is the subject of any scholastic record and who is 18 years of age or older may waive, in writing, the protections afforded by this subdivision. If the protections are so waived, the public body shall open such records for inspection and copying.

§ 2.2-3705.5 (1): Health. Provides an exemption for:

Health records, except that such records may be personally reviewed by the individual who is the subject of such records, as provided in subsection F of § 32.1-127.1:03.

Where the person who is the subject of medical records is confined in a state or local correctional facility, the administrator or chief medical officer of such facility may assert such confined person’s right of access to the medical records if the administrator or chief medical officer has reasonable cause to believe that such confined person has an infectious disease or other medical condition from which other persons so confined need to be protected. Medical records shall only be reviewed and shall not be copied by such administrator or chief medical officer. The information in the medical records of a person so confined shall continue to be confidential and shall not be disclosed by the administrator or chief medical officer of the facility to any person except the subject or except as provided by law.
Where the person who is the subject of medical and mental records is under the age of 18, his right of access may be asserted only by his guardian or his parent, including a noncustodial parent, unless such parent’s parental rights have been terminated or a court of competent jurisdiction has restricted or denied such access. In instances where the person who is the subject thereof is an emancipated minor or a student in a public institution of higher education, the right of access may be asserted by the subject person.
For the purposes of this chapter, statistical summaries of incidents and statistical data concerning patient abuse as may be compiled by the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services shall be open to inspection and copying as provided in § 2.2-3704. No such summaries or data shall include any patient-identifying information.

§ 2.2-3705.6(3): Economic development and retention. Provides an exemption for:

Confidential proprietary records, voluntarily provided by private business pursuant to a promise of confidentiality from a public body, used by the public body for business, trade and tourism development or retention; and memoranda, working papers or other records related to businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Virginia, prepared by a public body, where competition or bargaining is involved and where, if such records are made public, the financial interest of the public body would be adversely affected.


§ 2.2-3705.6 (10): Prequalification to bid.
 Provides an exemption for:

Confidential information designated as provided in subsection F of § 2.2-4342 as trade secrets or proprietary information by any person who has submitted to a public body an application for prequalification to bid on public construction projects in accordance with subsection B of § 2.2-4317.

Policy regarding the use of exemptions

  • The general policy of the Town of Abingdon is to invoke the personnel records exemption in those instances where it applies in order to protect the privacy of employees and officials of the Town of Abingdon.
  • The general policy of the Town of Abingdon is to invoke the contract negotiations exemption whenever it applies in order to protect the Town of Abingdon’s bargaining position and negotiating strategy.
  • It is general policy of the Town of Abingdon to invoke the statutory exemptions made available pursuant to the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended under §2.2.