The resolution being proposed for a vote by the School Board is here for your review.
The Attorney General recently published an opinion regarding how public bodies should conduct business during an emergency when they cannot meet in person and have the public attend. The AG stated: “the General Assembly did not intend to permit public bodies to handle all business through electronic communication means, even during a declared emergency,” and that “public bodies should carefully consider whether taking a given action during a meeting held by electronic communication means is truly essential and should defer any and all decisions that can be deferred until it is once again possible to meet in person.” He further stated that "it is my opinion that Code § 2.2-3708.2(A)(3) permits public bodies that are unable to assemble in person because of the unique characteristics of the COVID-19 virus to meet electronically to make decisions that must be made immediately and where failure to do so could result in irrevocable public harm." The full opinion can be found here: https://www.oag.state.va.us/files/Opinions/2020/Sullivan-Opinion-Request.pdf
It appears to me that the resolution up for a vote on Tuesday is to allow the School Board to proceed on topics not related to the emergency. Item #6 would allow the School Board to meet electronically for reasons that "include but are not limited to":
-procurement of goods and services
-adoption or amendment of politices and regulations
-acquisition and disposal of public and real property
-construction of facilities and related contracts
It is my opinion that this resolution oversteps the bounds of laws governing emergency electronic meetings. When I asked the deputy city attorney for the School Board to provide me with how this resolution complies with law, her response was "What this resolution does is allow School Board meetings that will allow normal operational decisions to be made."
Based on the AG's opinion, electronic meetings are for emergency decisions not "normal operational decisions".
The Governor even addressed this topic in one of his new conferences: Watch starting around 2:50: https://www.facebook.com/GovernorVA/videos/205693103862445/
4/3/2020 10:39:23 am
It seems appropriate the the agenda will be made public in advance and citizens able to see the meeting live. Will these occur?
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