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VA Court To Review "Official" Email Rules 102

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the instant-messaging-considered-seditious dept.
imac.usr writes "The Virginia Supreme Court will hear arguments today on a case brought by a Fairfax County resident alleging that the county's school board members violated the state's Freedom of Information Act. The suit alleges that board members colluded to close an elementary school in the county through rapid exchange of emails with each other. The state's FOIA rules stipulate that such exchanges can not constitute 'virtually simultaneous interaction' and that any assemblage of three or more members constitutes a formal meeting which must be announced. The article notes similar suits are popping up across the country, highlighting one of the difficulties governments face in balancing communication with transparency."
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VA Court To Review "Official" Email Rules

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  • NOT transparency (Score:4, Informative)

    by tchdab1 (164848) on Monday April 16, 2012 @01:37PM (#39701715) Homepage

    There is no difficulty in balance here - it's a deliberate railroad move.
    These people are deliberately trying to avoid public scrutiny and do an end-run around their constituents.

  • In Massachusetts... (Score:5, Informative)

    by crow (16139) on Monday April 16, 2012 @01:37PM (#39701725) Homepage Journal

    The rules are different in each state. In Massachusetts, I serve on a town board (the Planning Board, but the rules are the same for all boards). The relevant law is called the Open Meeging Law. We're simply not allowed to express any opinion on a matter before the board with a quorum of the board outside of a public meeting. We can do things like send out the agenda and documents to be discussed, but we can't suggest a course of action. Further, all emails to and from board members concerning the board are public record, and are subject to FOIA requests.

    It's very frustrating not being able to do any business by email. It would be nice if email were allowed, provided that we used a list that was immediately available online on the town web site. On the other hand, I do see how this could make it harder for residents to have their input heard, and it could leave some board members who are not online much at a disadvantage.

  • Re:Which "NDAA"? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2012 @01:45PM (#39701781)

    And since there is no due process of any kind, no one has to show that an undesirable is "part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners." So that claim that the government can indefinitely imprison random American citizens in military custody without trial remains valid.

  • by SonnyDog09 (1500475) on Monday April 16, 2012 @02:39PM (#39702451)
    In my town, council was using email before, during and after meetings to script votes. It cost one of the ringleaders his seat. http://www.annarbor.com/news/leigh-greden-apologizes-to-ann-arbor-city-council-colleagues-for-his-role-in-e-mail-scandal/ [annarbor.com] Use the ballot box to teach the buggers a lesson.

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