‘Board escaped the full intent’

Published 11:38 am Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Regarding last week’s “Court case involves library” article, the Lunenburg County Public Library System (LCPLS) board is indeed a public organization, Karen Scales represents them, and both are subject to the Freedom of Information Act. (FOIA).

The judge, although he did not issue a writ of mandamus, strongly advised Gary Elder to ensure that his clients email to the petitioners notice of meetings, per the FOIA.

The LCPLS board is a governing board made up of volunteers appointed by the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors to manage the county’s public libraries. They are a public 501(c)(3) organization funded by the county, the towns of Kenbridge and Victoria, and the state.

I called the circuit court clerk’s office and asked for a copy of the court transcripts, but was told there was no court reporter present, and the only time there is one is when an attorney pays to have one there.

I called Ripberger Public Library for meeting materials and was told that there were probably materials, but that employee did not have access to them.

I don’t know who has access and when they are available to show the materials to the public when asked.

In my opinion, the LCPLS board escaped the full intent of FOIA by telling the judge they don’t email each other in the course of business, yet I have a copy of an email from the secretary to the chair forwarding draft minutes of a meeting.

The judge refused to accept it as evidence.

When the court allows a tax-payer funded public organization to circumvent FOIA because petitioners can’t afford an attorney or the cost of hard copies of public materials (when those materials are already in electronic format and can be easily emailed), freedom of information goes out the window.


Trudy Berry lives in Green Bay in Lunenburg County. Her email address is holtram74@aol.com.