Requesting Records

Request Methods
You may request records by:
  • By phone
  • Email
  • Fax
  • In person
  • U.S. Mail
Written Requests
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) does not require that your request be in writing, nor do you need to specifically state that you are requesting records under FOIA.

Advantages of Written Requests
From a practical perspective, it may be helpful to both you and the person receiving your request to put your request in writing for the following reasons:
  • It allows you to create a record of your request.
  • It gives the county a clear statement of what records you are requesting, so that there is no misunderstanding over a verbal request.
Please note that the county can not refuse to respond to your FOIA request if you elect to not put it in writing.

Record Identification
Your request must identify the records you are seeking with "reasonable specificity." This is a common-sense standard. It does not refer to or limit the volume or number of records that you are requesting; instead, it requires that you be specific enough so that we can identify and locate the records that you are seeking.

Existing Records & Documents

Your request must ask for existing records or documents. FOIA gives you the right to inspect or copy records; it does not apply to a situation where you are asking general questions about the work of the County of Powhatan, nor does it require the County of Powhatan to create a record that does not exist.

Electronic Records
You may choose to receive electronic records in any format used by the County of Powhatan in the regular course of business. For example, if you are requesting records maintained in an Excel database, you may elect to receive those records electronically, via email or on a computer disk, or to receive a printed copy of those records

Cooperating with the County
If we have questions about your request, please cooperate with staff's efforts to clarify the type of records that you are seeking or to attempt to reach a reasonable agreement about a response to a large request. Making a FOIA request is not an adversarial process, but we may need to discuss your request with you to ensure that we understand what records you are seeking.

More Information
To request records from The County of Powhatan, you may direct your request to Bonni Johnston with the county's Administrator's Office. You may also contact her with questions. In addition, the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer any questions you may have about FOIA. The Council may be contacted via email or by phone at 804-225-3056 or 866-448-4100 (toll free).