Personal Liability of Public Officials in Virginia’s Local Governments and Its Impact on Their Willingness to Serve by George O'Neil Urquhart

Personal Liability of Public Officials in Virginia’s Local Governments and Its Impact on Their Willingness to Serve

By George O'Neil Urquhart

  • Release Date: 2016-01-14
  • Category: Religion & Spirituality

Brief Description

These are challenging times, and perhaps it is here that humans are viewed at their best and their worst. Everyone is accountable for what they say and do. And since government at all levels and its officials are not exempted, and who operate in a more open environment than they once did, primarily as a result of legislation providing for open meetings, more accessible public information, and under more open and recordable visibility, public officials must be more cautious and more aware of the decisions they make. Although a conscious effort on the part of public officials to avoid personal liability suits will help reduce the number of suits filed against them or the government, some preventive and proactive measures—e.g., becoming more proficient in the duties and responsibilities of office, cultural and social education, sensitivity training—must be taken to avoid the possibility of successful liability lawsuits.

Public officials are held morally responsible for their decisions, and they are to be respected for the demands placed on them by virtue of that office. However, individuals, including those injured by a particular governmental policy or an official’s decision, are not accepting grievous actions which go against their individual interests. Many are not content with exhausting administrative remedies; rather, they are turning to the courts for a remedy in cases of wrongful death, misuse of legal procedure, etc. A conscious, individual effort to reduce the occurrence liability suits through responsible public decisions will help hold the number of successful suits to a minimum.

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