I attended a Loudoun County Board of Supervisors meeting July 15 and saw a rather amazing violation of the Freedom of Information Act Open Meeting law. A Republican board member, Supervisor Anthony Buffington, was out at the Republican Convention in Cleveland and surreptitiously attended the board meeting by text messages. While a legislative item was being discussed, Buffington was lobbying his fellow board members by text message and participating in the debate electronically by texts sent to the members of the committee. Board members present were quoting from his text messages during legislative deliberations.
The county attorney was present and was horrified and required each board member present to read Buffington’s unpolished text messages into the record.
In sum, it was an amazing breach of the FOIA Open Meeting law letter and spirit. The rights of the public and press to know what their government was doing was badly compromised.
Legislation should be filed to correct this text message during meetings/surreptitious attendance problem that was on full display in Loudoun County.