Surety bonds exist to guarantee that rules will be followed. More specifically, public official bonds exist to guarantee that officials such as treasurers, judges, tax collectors, sheriffs, etc. will perform their responsibilities according to both local and state laws. Citizens in Whitley County, KY should be thankful that their former Sheriff was required to obtain a public official bond being there are thousands of county dollars missing.
Whitley County has filed a claim against former Sheriff Lawrence Hodge’s surety bond in an attempt to recoup money that has seemed to vanish from the sheriff’s department. County Attorney Don R. Moses said he filed the claim with company who issued the bond, Hartford Insurance Company. Moses said while familiarizing himself with the state audit reports he found that money was missing from the sheriff’s office. Moses claims the county is entitled to at least $200,000 from Hartford Insurance Company.
Whitley County residents should be pleased that there are public official bond requirements in place. Surety bonds are meant to guarantee something. In this case, the bond guarantees the sheriff’s compliance with rules and regulations; it appears money was mismanaged meaning rules were not followed. The claim being filed by Don R. Moses on behalf of the county will be investigated by the surety company and if legitimate, they will reimburse the county. Sheriff Hodge isn’t off the hook that easily. The surety company who wrote the bond, Hartford Insurance Company, then will go to the sheriff for their own reimbursement. Now if the county didn’t have a bond requirement in place for their sheriffs, the citizens could be out hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Bonds provide assurance; they assure that whoever has the bond in place will play fair. With the protection of the bond requirements, Whitley County can rest assured that their public officials will be held accountable for their actions.