Dennis Martin’s Role as FOIA Officer

Dr. Dennis Martin is the FOIA officer of Spotsylvania County Schools and the clerk of the School Board. Dr. Martin has specific legal responsibilities with his roles. In Virginia code 2.2-3704.2 A, Martin’s role as the FOIA officer is to “coordinate the public body’s compliance with the provisions of this chapter.” The chapter is chapter 37 which is the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

1- Why was the agenda for the 3/21 special meeting changed hours before the meeting was to occur? As the FOIA officer, Martin is responsible for FOIA compliance. How did the agenda change under his watch? It is our understanding none of the school board members have direct access to change or upload agendas into BoardDocs. It’s our understanding that Martin holds this access.

2- Why did Martin not take a more prominent and vocal role to ensure FOIA compliance at the January 10 school board meeting? As the FOIA officer, that is a legal requirement. Yet he abdicated that responsibility when school board members asked for assistance.

It appears Dr Martin is trying to set up conservatives Twigg, Abuismail, Phelps, and Gillespie for failure. The Makaila Keyes lawsuit is seeking individual penalties against them. Penalties can only occur if a “violation was willfully and knowingly made” as stated in Virginia Code 2.2-3714.  Given Martin’s role in all of this, it would be difficult to reach the “willfully and knowingly made” standard since Martin is responsible for FOIA compliance per the law.

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