School board members Nicole Cole, Dawn Shelley, and Lorita Daniels violated open meetings law. All three spoke about the school budget at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday February 8. Cole, Shelley, and Daniels spoke about public business and did not announce their presence in advance. This violates Virginia code 2.2-3707 on meetings.
This is a huge problem for Cole, Daniels, and Shelley. In Virginia code 2.2-3701, the term “meeting” is defined as “an informal assemblage of as many as three members……of the constituent membership wherever held, with or without minutes being taken, whether or not votes are cast, of any public body” with the purpose of transacting public business. The last portion of the definition is a word soup of runoff sentences that applies when something is not a “meeting”. Screen captures of the laws are listed below
Back in 2004, a situation occurred in Fredericksburg city where 3 councilmen attended a transportation meeting. The councilmen did not speak at the meeting, so they did not violate open meeting laws. There is a court case online that explains that. Link below.
This situation with Shelley, Daniels, and Cole is different because they spoke about public business in a public forum without advance notice. If notice was provided, the public may have wanted to show up and speak to either support or rebut the coordinated speeches of Shelley, Daniels, and Cole.