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F.C. School Board Chair Lashes Out at Leaks from Closed Sessions

wodiskaSpeaking at the Falls Church City Council meeting last night, F.C. School Board Chair Joan Wodiska lashed out at violations of strict confidentiality that is the law governing legally-sanctioned “closed sessions” of government deliberations. She did so in the context of refuting as false a report in a local blog, stating that “among a number of inaccuracies, the story incorrectly suggested that City officials were discussing tearing down Mary Ellen Henderson (Middle School–ed.).

Wodiska stated, reading from a written statement that was posted on the George Mason Morning Announcements today and sent out as a media advisory this afternoon, added, “There will be times when the School Board, City Council, Planning Commission or the soon to be formed School Board Facilities Advisory Committee will discuss in private or ‘closed’ meeting specific pieces of property. The Virginia Code authorizes public bodies, including the School Board,to meet in closed session to protect the City’s negotiating position where public discussion would adversely impact the City and city residents. A closed meeting, by the nature that it is closed from the public, is controlled, limited and regulated. All public officials are bound by the confidentiality of the closed meeting law, and only by a vote of the public bodies may the information discussed in a closed meeting become public. A violation of closed meeting law is serious and grounds for censuring or other punishment of a public official.”

Later in last night’s meeting, Wodiska and F.C. School Superintendent Dr. Lois Berlin joined the F.C. Council in a closed session to discuss acquisition of real property.