La Vergne’s Liability Issues (lather, rinse, repeat)

The word “liability” can send shivers of fear down the spine of any business or agency. To be financially liable for someone getting hurt on your property or at your event can cause fear and paralysis and is a powerful deterent to implementing good ideas. La Vergne has a rich history of inaction due to liability concerns. My concern is that the word “liability” is freely tossed around when – frankly – decision-makers and staff just don’t seem to want to do a project or activity. It’s a handy excuse.

An effort was made earlier this year to open a community garden by the Senior Center. The idea was quickly squashed because of “liability concerns” and an amazing local woman (thank you Isabella) opened her land on behalf of the seniors.

Yet in 2010, the city actually had one when the meeting mentioned below in a newsletter distributed by the city came to fruition. Have liability issues changed so much in nine years??

In other communities, liability issues don’t seem to be a huge concern:
Veggies spring up at Murfreesboro Community Garden
The Nashville Food Project
Tennessee Garden Project & Garden
How Urban Community Garden Initiatives Help Tennessee Residents

Okay so in fairness this could be pretty physical and cause heart attacks in people like me (harsh reality). However with a proper WAIVER form signed and a willingness from other women to step up and play, why not? This could be a wonderful fundraiser for the community – whether for the senior center, a parks & recreation project, or just for fun. In any case, nope for now. Liability concerns. Maybe this will pan out eventually.

That crazy California… here you go.
It’s a real thing, yo
Powderpuff Bowl – Benefiting Lymphoma and Leukemia Society

A Parks & Recreation Committee member suggested having an end of the summer / back to school super soaker fun day at our park. Get some relief from the extraordinary heat, community involvement, general fun. But NO. Again the liability issues. Yet…

YMCA Summer Wipeout
Splashout Murfreesboro Parks and Fire Department event

YES I fully understand risk management. YES I understand that there is a fiduciary responsibility for the city to protect life, property, its assets, and the health and well-being of its population. But this is why organizations like the Tennessee Risk Management Trust and the Tennessee Risk Management Association exist. Instead of embarrassingly saying NO to everything, find a way to make it work so that RISK is managed at an acceptable level. Also of note, just because an attorney gives you a list of potential legal ramifications, it does NOT mean that the attorney is the final decision. The decision should be made by the governing board AFTER weighing the benefits vs. the risk.

MORE RISK MANAGED (or not managed)

The city won’t put in speed bumps on roads that are under constant assault from speeding drivers because of liability concerns. They don’t want emergency responders hitting the speed bumps so hard that they would damage their fire trucks. There are speed bumps on residential roads throughout the country that are in place to manage the risk of children being hit by speeding drivers. Fire trucks are expensive, sure enough. But ya know… kids safety, policing speeders through an inanimate object sounds pretty good too. (Do I like speed bumps, no. Do I see where they can be useful, yes.)

The city won’t allow candy to be thrown during parades because of liability concerns. When I was a city employee, we addressed that by asking parade participants to HAND OUT candy and made it clear this was a rule when people signed up. (And yes, if a child is in danger of being hit for darting out in front of a parade entry to grab candy, this is legit.)

What say you, La Vergne? What do you think?

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