Rights & Responsibilities:
The Rights of Requesters and the Responsibilities of
Goochland County under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located in § 2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees 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 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
Making a Request for records from the County
To request records from the County, you may direct your request to:
Lisa Beczkiewicz, FOIA Coordinator
Goochland County Administration Building
1800 Sandy Hook Road
P.O. Box 10, Goochland, VA 23063
Telephone: (804) 556-5811
Facsimile: (804) 556-4617
You may also contact her with any questions you have concerning requesting records from the County.
*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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (804) 225-3056 or [toll free] 1-866-448-4100.
Please be advised that certain agencies/departments/offices respond separately from the County to FOIA requests. Please contact these offices directly for any FOIA requests. Links to some of these offices can be found below:
Goochland County Sheriff’s Office
Goochland County Treasurer’s Office
Goochland County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office
Goochland County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Goochland County Commissioner of the Revenue
The Health Department
Goochland County Public Schools
1) We provide you with the records that you have requested in their entirety.
2) 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.
3) 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.
4) 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.
5) If it is practically impossible for the County 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.
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 agenda, and other readily-available and commonly produced records. Non-routine requests shall include but are not limited to financial correspondence; legal documents; settlements; and personnel matters.
Commonly used exemptions
The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public disclosure. The County commonly withholds records subject to the following exemptions: