The sheriff refused to give Ms. Purdum the names of people he had just appointed to a “citizen’s advisory council”. Ms. Purdum used to work for Sheriff Weaver.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Weaver is insisting that Purdum’s request is “a personal attack veiled in a FOIA request” and calling her a “former disgruntled employee”. According to the judge’s ruling, Weaver has to pay the $250 fine out of his own pocket so the taxpayers don’t have to pay for his mistake.
According to Virginia FOIA experts, this is the first time that a judge has imposed a fine on a public official for willful violation of the state’s laws.
Nearly every state’s public records law says that public officials aren’t entitled to inquire as to the purpose of a FOIA request. That’s true in Virginia, where the code says:
The purpose or motivation behind a request is irrelevant to a citizen’s entitlement to requested information.
It is unprofessional, at a minimum, for the Sheriff to continue to attack Ms. Purdum in this unseemly manner.
Merry Christmas to you, Ms. Purdum, and welcome to the hardy and inspiring ranks of STOTWs.