Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Office
Rights & Responsibilities
The Rights of Requesters and the Responsibilities of the City of Suffolk 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.
The City of Suffolk & FOIA
With the goal of promoting an institutional culture for compliance with the laws of the Freedom of Information Act, on March 21, 2007, the Suffolk City Council adopted an ordinance creating the FOIA Office, Suffolk City Ordinance Number 07-O-032. The FOIA Office was established to lead the organization in handling the FOIA requests from the general public and media, and to implement FOIA awareness throughout the organization.
The Suffolk FOIA Office
The City of Suffolk opened the FOIA Office on May 1, 2007. The FOIA Office is located in Suffolk City Hall
442 W Washington Street
Suffolk, VA, 23434
The office has signage that promotes awareness and visibility. The FOIA Office is equipped with a foyer area where those seeking public records may enter, submit FOIA requests, review records, and view municipal programs or meetings on the television or computer.
Routine Department Responses
Departments that distribute publications, flyers, and informational and promotional brochures are encouraged to provide these directly to the general public.
FOIA Log Sheet
The FOIA Office maintains a log of all FOIA requests and responses. This log is updated daily with information on the status of the response for each FOIA request and its final disposition.