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Board of Trustees Policy Manual

The purpose of this manual is to provide to the members of the Fairfax County Library (FCPL) Board of Trustees, the Library Administration and staff, all of the basic statutes, regulations and policies pertinent to the overall direction of FCPL

Policy Regarding Remote Participation

FAIRFAX COUNTY LIBRARY BOARD’S POLICY FOR THE REMOTE PARTICIPATION OF MEMBERS

1. AUTHORITY AND SCOPE.

  1. This policy is adopted pursuant to the authorization of Va. Code § 2.2-3708.3 and is to be strictly construed in conformance with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA), Va. Code §§ 2.2-3700—3715.
  2. This policy shall not govern an electronic meeting conducted to address a state of emergency declared by the Governor or the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.  Any meeting conducted by electronic communication means under such circumstances shall be governed by the provisions of Va. Code § 2.2-3708.2.  This policy also does not apply to an all-virtual public meeting.  

2. DEFINITIONS.

  1. Board” means the Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees or any committee, subcommittee, or other entity of the Library Board. 
  2. Member” means any member of the Library Board of Trustees.
  3. Remote participation” means participation by an individual member of the Board by electronic communication means in a public meeting where a quorum of the Library Board of Trustees is physically assembled, as defined by Va. Code § 2.2-3701.
  4. Meeting” means a meeting as defined by Va. Code § 2.2-3701.
  5. Notify” or “notifies,” for purposes of this policy, means written notice, such as email or letter.  Notice does not include text messages or communications via social media.

3. MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS

Regardless of the reasons why the member is participating in a meeting from a remote location by electronic communication means, the following conditions must be met for the member to participate remotely:

  1. A quorum of the Board must be physically assembled at the primary or central meeting location; and
  2. Arrangements have been made for the voice of the remotely participating member to be heard by all persons at the primary or central meeting location. If at any point during the meeting the voice of the remotely participating member is no longer able to be heard by all persons at the meeting location, the remotely participating member shall no longer be permitted to participate remotely.

4. PROCESS TO REQUEST REMOTE PARTICPATION

  1. On or before the day of the meeting, and at any point before the meeting begins, the requesting member must notify the Board Chair (or the Vice-Chair if the requesting member is the Chair) that they are unable to physically attend a meeting due to (i) a temporary or permanent disability or other medical condition that prevents the member's physical attendance,  (ii) a family member's medical condition that requires the member to provide care for such family member, thereby preventing the member's physical attendance, (iii) their principal residence location more than 60 miles from the meeting location, or (iv) a personal matter and identifies with specificity the nature of the personal matter.  
  2. The requesting member shall also notify the Board staff liaison of their request, but their failure to do so shall not affect their ability to remotely participate.
  3. If the requesting member is unable to physically attend the meeting due to a personal matter, the requesting member must state with specificity the nature of the personal matter.  Remote participation due to a personal matter is limited each calendar year to two meetings or 25 percent of the meetings held per calendar year rounded up to the next whole number, whichever is greater.  There is no limit to the number of times that a member may participate remotely for the other authorized purposes listed in (i)—(iii) above. 
  4. The requesting member is not obligated to provide independent verification regarding the reason for their nonattendance, including the temporary or permanent disability or other medical condition or the family member’s medical condition that prevents their physical attendance at the meeting.
  5. The Chair (or the Vice-Chair if the requesting member is the Chair) shall promptly notify the requesting member whether their request is in conformance with this policy, and therefore approved or disapproved.

5. PROCESS TO CONFIRM APPROVAL OR DISAPPROVAL OF PARTICIPATION FROM A REMOTE LOCATION

When a quorum of the Board has assembled for the meeting, the Board shall vote to determine whether:

  1. The Chair’s decision to approve or disapprove the requesting member’s request to participate from a remote location was in conformance with this policy; and
  2. The voice of the remotely participating member can be heard by all persons at the primary or central meeting location.

6. RECORDING IN MINUTES:

  1. If the member is allowed to participate remotely due to a temporary or permanent disability or other medical condition, a family member’s medical condition that requires the member to provide care to the family member, or because their principal residence is located more than 60 miles from the meeting location the Board shall record in its minutes (1) the Board’s approval of the member’s remote participation; and (2) a general description of the remote location from which the member participated.  
  2. If the member is allowed to participate remotely due to a personal matter, such matter shall be cited in the minutes with specificity, as well as how many times the member has attended remotely due to a personal matter, and a general description of the remote location from which the member participated.  
  3. If a member’s request to participate remotely is disapproved, the disapproval, including the grounds upon which the requested participation violates this policy or VFOIA, shall be recorded in the minutes with specificity.  

7. CLOSED SESSION

If the Board goes into closed session, the member participating remotely shall ensure that no third party is able to hear or otherwise observe the closed meeting.

8. STRICT AND UNIFORM APPLICATION OF THIS POLICY

This Policy shall be applied strictly and uniformly, without exception, to the entire membership, and without regard to the identity of the member requesting remote participation or the matters that will be considered or voted on at the meeting.  

The Chair (or Vice-Chair) shall maintain the member’s written request to participate remotely and the written response for a period of one year, or other such time required by records retention laws, regulations, and policies. 
 


9/14/2022

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