County's Responsibility Responding to Your Request
- The County 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 County is irrelevant, and you do not have to state why you want the records before we respond to your request. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) does, however, allow the County to require you to provide your name and legal address.
- FOIA requires that the County make one of the following responses to your request within the five-day time period:
- Provide you with the records that you have requested in their entirety.
- 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, the County 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 the withholding of the records.
- Provide some of the records that you have requested, but withhold other records. The County cannot withhold an entire record if only a portion of it is subject to an exemption. In that instance, the County may redact the portion of the record that may be withheld, and must provide you with the remainder of the record. The County 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.
- 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 the County knows that another public body has the requested records, staff must include contact information for the other public body in the response to you.
- If it is practically impossible for the County to respond to your request within the five-day period, the County must state this in writing, explaining the conditions that make the response impossible. This will allow the County seven additional working days to respond to your request, giving the County a total of 12 working days to respond to your request.
- If you make a request for a very large number of records, and County staff feel that they cannot provide the records within 12 working days without disrupting other organizational responsibilities, the County may petition the court for additional time to respond to your request. However, FOIA requires that the County make a reasonable effort to reach an agreement with you concerning the production or the records before it goes to court to ask for more time.