Principles that Public Officials Should Uphold

Public officials face high expectations when it comes to positions of importance and value with instilled public trust. Voters determine who fills most of these positions, making them high-profile. Those in public positions should strive to uphold the core principles of service and consider their roles in every decision. What principles should public officials uphold? There are some standard expectations.

How Public Officials Can Gain Trust

We outline what they must do and also how they can secure an insurance policy that may help in the event of a claim. 

Must Serve Public Interest

Part of a public role requires that you act in the interest of the Constitution, ethical boundaries, and the law in making decisions. Further, decisions should serve the people and the community, not your own self-interests. Officials typically cannot receive any gifts, monetary or otherwise, which could give the impression of favoritism or impropriety.

Must Be Financially Cautious

In public positions, you are privy to information others cannot access. You are not permitted to make any financial investments or decisions based on that information for your own personal gain. Using any such information for private interest could lead to a liability suit. Public officials liability insurance may cover some situations, but it often does not cover deliberate criminal actions. 

May Not Discriminate

The law prohibits discriminatory behaviors in any public office. Not only does this include decisions on behalf of the people but also in your employment actions. Federal discrimination and labor laws apply in all of these offices. Extra caution is essential in such a high-profile environment when making employment decisions, including hiring, firing, and disciplinary actions. Public officials liability & employment practices liability policies are essential investments for these situations in case of any implication of wrongdoing.

Public Officials Must Disclose Fraudulent and Irresponsible Behavior

In a public position, there are obligations to disclose actions and behaviors that seem contrary to the roles of the office. It includes any seemingly fraudulent, wasteful, or irresponsible actions. Failure to report such instances may lead to implied consent and liability on your part for your awareness and lack of action.

Public Officials Must Avoid Personal Gains from Professional Activities

The time spent in a public office must focus solely on those public roles without any intention of seeking personal gains from that service. For example, any legal, ethical, or moral decisions with implications for your personal financial interests must come from another office. For example, you must recuse yourself from any determinations that could benefit your family member’s businesses. Zoning decisions and regulations that benefit your personal properties also apply.

Public Officials Must Show Good Faith Effort

Serving in any public office comes with an expectation of good faith. It means executing your role honestly, striving to serve the public good, and always maintaining impartiality. Impartial decisions are a cornerstone of public office. Any situation where you have an inherent bias makes it difficult to make the impartial decisions required of public officials. Awareness of your own bias or partiality ensures that you step back from such decisions to protect the integrity of your office.

About PGUI

Professional Governmental Underwriters, LLC., is a full-service risk management company dedicated to assisting public, educational and non-profit entities in the management of their professional liability exposures including educators liability insurance. We are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art professional underwriting management and loss control advisory services on behalf of our designated carriers. For more information, call us toll-free at (800) 586-6502.