Rights & Responsibilities:
The Rights of Requesters and the Responsibilities of the Town of Remington
under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located at § 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.
Your FOIA Rights
• You have the right to request to inspect or receive copies of public records, or both.
• You have the right to request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance.
• If you believe that your FOIA rights have been violated, you may file a petition in
district or circuit court to compel compliance with FOIA. Alternatively, you may
contact the FOIA Council for a nonbinding advisory opinion.
Making a Request for records from the Town of Remington
• You may request records by U.S. Mail, fax, e-mail, in person, or over the phone.
FOIA does not require that your request be in writing, nor do you need to
specifically state that you are requesting records under FOIA.
From a practical perspective, it may be helpful to both you and the person
receiving your request to put your request in writing. This allows you to
create a record of your request. It also gives us a clear statement of what
records you are requesting, so that there is no misunderstanding over a verbal
request. However, we cannot refuse to respond to your FOIA request if you
elect to not put it in writing.
• Your request must identify the records you are seeking with “reasonable specificity.”
This is a common-sense standard. It does not refer to or limit the volume or
number of records that you are requesting; instead, it requires that you be specific
enough so that we can identify and locate the records that you are seeking.
• Your request must ask for existing records or documents. FOIA gives you a right to
inspect or copy records; it does not apply to a situation where you are asking general
questions about the work of the Town of Remington, nor does it require the Town
of Remington to create a record that does not exist.
• You may choose to receive electronic records in any format used by the Town of
Remington in the regular course of business.
For example, if you are requesting records maintained in an Excel database,
you may elect to receive those records electronically, via e-mail or on a
computer disk, or to receive a printed copy of those records
• If we have questions about your request, please cooperate with staff’s efforts to
clarify the type of records that you are seeking, or to attempt to reach a reasonable
agreement about a response to a large request. Making a FOIA request is not an
adversarial process, but we may need to discuss your request with you to ensure that
we understand what records you are seeking.
To request records from the Town of Remington, you may direct your request to
Rachael Brinson or Carol Stalter, the FOIA Officers. They can be reached at:
203 East Main Street
Remington, Virginia 22734
You may also contact either of them with questions you have concerning requesting records
from the Town of Remington. 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
The Town of Remington Responsibilities in Responding to Your Request
• The Town of Remington must respond to your request within five working days of
receiving it. “Day One” is considered the business 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 Town of Remington is
irrelevant, and you do not have to state why you want the records before we respond
to your request. FOIA does, however, allow the Town of Remington to require you
to provide your name and legal address.
• FOIA requires that the Town of Remington make one of the following responses to
your request within the five-day time period:
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
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 Town of Remington 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.
• If you make a request for a very large number of records, and we feel that we cannot
provide the records to you within 12 working days without disrupting our other
organizational responsibilities, we may petition the court for additional time to
respond to your request. However, FOIA requires that we make a reasonable effort
to reach an agreement with you concerning the production or the records before we
go to court to ask for more time.
• The Town of Remington may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost
incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records.
No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or
expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records
or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged
by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. All charges for the
supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the
citizen as set forth in subsection F of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia.
• You may have to pay for the records that you request from the Town of Remington.
FOIA allows us to charge for the actual costs of responding to FOIA requests. This
would include items like staff time spent searching for the requested records, copying
costs, or any other costs directly related to supplying the requested records. It
cannot include general overhead costs.
• If we estimate that it will cost more than $200 to respond to your request, we may
require you to pay a deposit, not to exceed the amount of the estimate, before
proceeding with your request. The five days that we have to respond to your request
does not include the time between when we ask for a deposit and when you respond.
• You may request that we estimate in advance the charges for supplying the records
that you have requested. This will allow you to know about any costs upfront, or
give you the opportunity to modify your request in an attempt to lower the estimated
• If you owe us money from a previous FOIA request that has remained unpaid for
more than 30 days, the Town of Remington may require payment of the past-due bill
before it will respond to your new FOIA request.
Types of records
The following is a general description of the types of records held by the Town of Remington:
• Ordinances & Resolutions of the Town Council
•Minutes of meetings of the Town Council
If you are unsure whether the Town of Remington has the record(s) you seek, please contact
Rachael Brinson or Carol Stalter
203 East Main Street
Remington, Virginia 22734
Commonly used exemptions
The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public
disclosure as permitted by law. For example, the Town of Remington may withhold records
subject to the following exemptions:
• Personnel records (§ 2.2-3705.1 (1) of the Code of Virginia)
• Records subject to attorney-client privilege (§ 2.2-3705.1 (2)) or attorney work
product (§ 2.2-3705.1 (3))
• Vendor proprietary information (§ 2.2-3705.1 (6))
• Records relating to the negotiation and award of a contract, prior to a contract being
awarded (§ 2.2-3705.1 (12))
This list of exemptions is not intended to be exhaustive and the Town of Remington may
invoke other exemptions, as permitted by law, depending upon the circumstances.
Policy regarding the use of exemptions
The general policy of the Town of Remington is to invoke the exemptions permitted by
FOIA in strict accordance with FOIA. In other words, exemptions are narrowly construed.