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.

COMMUNITY GARDEN
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

POWDERPUFF FOOTBALL GAME
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

SUPER SOAKER FUN DAY
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?

2 comments for “La Vergne’s Liability Issues (lather, rinse, repeat)

  1. Debbie Heughan
    July 20, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Am so glad you brought this up. What’s up with thus constant luability excuse? Can you imagine Mardi Gras being canceled and all the parades that come through the cities that celebrate Mardi Gras before Fat Tuesday being cancelled because of liability. Look at all the candy, beads and the doubloons and thousands of other trinkets tossed from numerous large elaborate floats into the massu7u ve fun loving crowds and yet they’ve been doing it for hundreds of years. How can they claim that some of the ideas that we have come up with could be a liability when they let thousands of kids come on to the ball fields and the skatepark and the playgrounds everyday and you never hear the word liability. I thought we were going to make LaVergne fun again? I’m not sure how all the other cities in the United States are able to have similar events and activities but yet LaVergne has a serious liability issue with everything.

  2. Steve noe
    July 20, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    As an Alderman, I do not fully understand the risk factor of all this especially If a waiver is signed by each individual to release the city of all responsibility, but then again I am not privy to speak with the powers that be, IE insurance company, so I can only go by what I am told from city administrator and PR. Do I believe in all this? Again I am not 100% sure but I do know that I wish I had the facts from the horses mouth “insurance company” I know the city attorney said he could draw papers up for these things.

    As for garden, pretty much same thing as above.

    As for super soaker, liability was not really brought up but the fact that their was just not enough time time this summer to plan anymore but definitely on an agenda for next summer.

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