Policy on minutes changes

Published 11:26 am Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Following citizen’s concerns about supervisors’ transparency, the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors has agreed to take minutes during all future budget work sessions.

Citizens have raised concerns recently regarding the accuracy and lack of minutes, specifically during budget work sessions.

“I spoke with (County Administrator) R.B. (Clark), and in the past, minutes were not taken at budget work sessions 

because the board of supervisors’ minutes are a record of actions taken by the board,” said County Purchasing Agent and Planner Monica Elder, “and no action is taken by the board during work sessions. However, in the future minutes will be taken at all work sessions.”

During an April board meeting, Charlotte Court House resident Terry Ramsey said section 2.2-3707 of the Code of Virginia requires written minutes of all board of supervisors’ open meetings.

He said minutes were missing for several meetings, including budget work sessions held on Feb. 21, March 14, March 22 and April 3.

No meeting minutes or audio recordings for the meetings are listed on the county’s website while others are.

Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Council Senior Attorney Alan Gernhardt said requirements for minutes are outlined in the Code of Virginia, which states minutes should be recorded during all open meetings.

“Additionally, while it is outside of FOIA, it is my understanding that (code section) 15.2-1242 also sets out minutes requirements for counties,” Gernhardt said.

According to the Code of Virginia, “the minutes of regularly occurring workshop meetings at which no official action is taken may be recorded by tape or sound recording, which shall be retained and available for public inspection in accordance with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§2.2-3700 et seq.) and the Virginia Public Records Act (§42.1-76 et seq.).”

In January, supervisors made the first audio recordings of board meetings available online.

“It is our policy to post all minutes of the board of supervisors on the Charlotte County website,” Elder said.

Minutes from board of supervisors’ meetings are available at www.charlotteva.com/bos_meetings.htm.