Archive for January, 2011

Civil Discourse and Free Speech: Can Good Manners be Mandated?

What is the proper balance between free speech, with its encouragement of open dialog and debate, and the need for order and civility to accomplish the goals of a public meeting?  What are the rights of the public attending a meeting to speak to the public body? Do the members of the public body have a right […]


Defamation at Public Meeting of Governing Body: No Absolute Privilege

For years, Virginia local government attorneys believed that an absolute legislative privilege attached to reports and statements by staff and others to the elected officials at a meeting of a local governing body.  Legislative bodies like our local elected boards and councils should have an absolute privilege for good reason. Frank advice and reports from staff, […]


Va Supreme Court Opinion Affecting Local Government Law: January 13, 2011

This opinion affecting local government law was handed down by the Virginia Supreme Court on January 13, 2010.   Analysis will be forthcoming on this blog.   The following is the summary from the Virginia Supreme Court website: 091693 Isle of Wight County v. Nogiec 01/13/2011 In a lawsuit charging a county with breach of an employment severance […]