Learn more about public official bonds, and apply today. Absolute Surety offers surety bonds nationwide through a convenient online application system.
What Are Public Official Bonds?
Elected or appointed public officials work for and are accountable to the taxpayers and residents of the communities they serve. Public official bonds guarantee that officials in a position of responsibility will carry out their duties in a lawful and ethical manner. This is especially true for individuals who handle money or sensitive information, manage budgets, or make important decisions.
Each jurisdiction’s statutes specify the particular form a public official bond will take. Common types include performance bonds, public employee dishonesty bonds, and fidelity bonds. They may be written as individual bonds (for each public official) or as a blanket bond (for a public official and the public employees under that official’s management).
Who Needs Them?
These bonds are most commonly required for: judges, court clerks, notaries, sheriffs, deputies and other law enforcement personnel, municipal tax collectors and treasurers, school board members, and governors, mayors, and city managers. The bond requirement is established at the state or municipal level, and the specific duties of public officials are spelled out in state or municipal statutes or public charters.
How Do They Work?
There are three parties to a public official bond: the state or municipal entity that requires the bond (the obligee), the public official (the principal), and the underwriter that issues the bond (the surety). Any member of the public who suffers financial harm due to the actions of the public official has a right to file a claim against the bond. There are three main causes for filing a claim:
Misfeasance. A mistake made with no criminal intent that causes financial harm to a member of the public.
Nonfeasance. Inaction (neglecting to perform a required duty) that causes financial harm to a member of the public.
Malfeasance. Deliberate commission of an illegal act with nefarious intent (e.g., for personal gain or benefit to the public official), causing financial harm to a member of the public.
The surety will determine the validity of any claim against a public official bond before paying it. The principal must subsequently reimburse the surety for the amount paid to the claimant.
What Do They Cost?
Public official bonds differ from most surety bonds in that the obligee, not the principal, typically pays for the bond. The obligee also establishes the required amount of the bond. The premium for a public official bond is a percentage of the bond amount. That percentage depends on such factors as: the nature of the public official’s position and duties, the professional qualifications of the official, and the public official’s credit score and financial situation.
Our surety experts will be happy to assist with your application for a public official bond. Get started with our online application today!