Who Needs Public Official Bonds and Why
Public official bonds are a type of Surety Bond required of public officials. The principle here is the public official; the obligee is the government asking for the bond. The purpose of the bond is to protect the general public from any misconduct by officials holding a position of power or trust in the government.
Who requires a Public Official Bond?
The Public Official Bond is typically required of officials who work with sensitive information or money. Such officials usually hold a position of power or deal with public funds. This includes:
- Tax collection officials
- Law enforcement officials, such as sheriffs and their subordinates
- Judges and court-clerks
- City Managers
- Officials working in the Treasury
Why do we need Public Official Bonds?
To maintain public trust
These are offices that enjoy a certain amount of public trust. For instance, the office of a judge is one of the most highly regarded positions in the country. It is critically important for our society that this trust is maintained. By penalizing any misconduct, we ensure that public officials discharge their duties as per the law, rules, and regulations.
To ensure ethical practices
The bond ensures that the official must conduct themselves in an ethical manner at all times. It is aimed to ensure that public official and through them, the government itself behaves in an ethical and just manner.
To protect public funds
Many public officials, such as those working in the treasury or tax collection offices regularly handle public funds. It is critical that a strict penalty is laid down in case of any misconduct or misappropriation of funds. We must keep in mind that this is a public fund that is in question. Even other than criminal penalties, a bond is necessary to see that there is also an economic fine.
To reduce the State’s liability
The bond puts the onus of the conduct on the official. By assigning clear penalties on the faulty party, it ensures that the State’s liability is limited. Since, the official is a representative of the State, misconduct by them can also extend to the State. Without a bond, the complainant can also ask the State for damages.
To see that the injured party is compensated
The public official bond is ultimately meant to protect the general public. In case of any breach of services, the injured party can raise a complaint. If found valid, they can recover their damages.