Boards of Special Service Districts Continue to Adapt and Provide Essential Services During Pandemic
Special service districts — independent government units created under the authority of a state’s statutes to provide an essential service in a specific area or community — can be found in every state and provide a wide array of services to millions of Americans. Services range from water supply, housing authority, library services and even municipal golf courses.
A board of directors that is either elected by constituents or appointed by a local governmental authority is ultimately responsible for overseeing a special service district. Responsibilities include overseeing day-to-day operations, decision-making and implementing district policies.
With responsibility comes accountability, as the board has an obligation to the people it serves and can be sued for a variety of reasons, including negligence and breach of duty, misappropriation of funds and misrepresentation of financial information.
Just like any other business, special service districts have adapted to a new environment during the pandemic. As they provide specialized services essential to the health, safety and well-being of their communities, a total shutdown is not possible, and adaptation has been essential to their continued operation. Additionally, a greater reliance on technology has allowed for remote work environments while still providing essential services to communities.
Special service districts have had to adapt to ensure their compliance with state sunshine laws — all board meetings must be accessible and open to the public. In a remote environment, boards of directors made changes to permit virtual meetings. Additionally, libraries continued to operate by providing outside pickups and returns, virtual story times and downloadable e-books. Water, sewer and housing authorities transitioned to offering more online services, such as online customer payments, billing questions and applications. Boards of directors have needed to act swiftly in making complex decisions during this unprecedented time.
USLI has a comprehensive management liability product to protect the board of directors of a special service district. Our top classes include water districts, sewer districts, housing authorities, conservation districts and library districts.
Public Officials Management Liability product advantages:
- Separate limits of liability for directors and officers, employment practices liability and fiduciary
- Defense outside the limits
- Full prior acts coverage
- Duty to defend
- No professional services exclusion (not available on all classes)
For more information, contact your Professional Lines underwriter today.
As always, thank you for your support and business.
Contact Lori Paul
Assistant Vice President, Senior Underwriter – Home Office | 888-523-5545, ext. 2438
Written by Jacky Oviedo
June 3, 2021