29 CFR 453.9 -
(a) General considerations. For many labor organizations and trusts special problems involving disbursements will be presented by those who, as trustees or members of an executive board or similar governing body, are, as a group, charged with general responsibility for the conduct of the business and affairs of the organization or trust. Often such bodies may approve contracts, authorize disbursements, audit accounts and exercise similar responsibilities.
(2) It is difficult to formulate any general rule for such cases. The mere fact that a board of trustees, executive board or similar governing body has general supervision of the affairs of a trust or labor organization, including investment policy and the establishment of fiscal controls, would not necessarily mean that the members of this body “handle” the funds or other property of the organization. On the other hand, the facts may indicate that the board or other body exercises such close, day-to-day supervision of those directly charged with the handling of funds or other property that it might be unreasonable to conclude that the members of such board were not, as a group, also participating in the handling of such funds and property. 8 Also, whether or not the members of a particular board of trustees or executive board handle funds or other property in their capacity as such, certain of these members may hold other offices or have other functions involving duties directly related to the receipt, safekeeping or disbursement of the funds or other property of the organization so that it would be necessary that they be bonded irrespective of their board membership.
8 As to group coverage, see § 453.16.
(b) Nature of responsibilities as affecting “handling.” With respect to particular responsibilities of boards of trustees, executive boards and similar bodies in disbursing funds or other property, much would depend upon the system of fiscal controls provided in a particular trust or labor organization. The allocation of funds or authorization of disbursements for a particular purpose is not necessarily handling of funds within the meaning of the section. If the allocation or authorization merely permits expenditures by a disbursing officer who has responsibility for determining the validity or propriety of particular expenditures, then the action of the disbursing officer and not that of the board would constitute handling. But if pursuant to a direction of the board, the disbursing officer performed only ministerial acts without responsibility to determine whether the expenditures were valid or appropriate, then the board's action would constitute handling. In such a case, the absence of fraud or dishonesty in the acts of the disbursing officer alone would not necessarily prevent fraudulent or dishonest disbursements. The person or persons who are charged with or exercise responsibility for determining whether specific disbursements are bona fide, regular, and in accordance with the applicable constitution, trust instrument, resolution or other laws or documents governing the disbursement of funds or other property should be considered to handle such funds and property and be bonded accordingly.