(59) Significantly, Freund J treated the Commissioners in the same manner as "true" trustees, explaining, "Public officers are obligated, virtute officii
, to perform their duties honestly, faithfully, and to the best of their ability, and to bring to the discharge of their duties that prudence, caution and attention which careful men usually exercise in the management of their own affairs." (60) This reasoning applies the same standard of conduct to public officers that applies to private law trustees.
In the absence of some such provision, the presumption would be that an officeholder with powers virtute officii has fiduciary powers(151) that must be exercised exclusively in the interests of the beneficiaries under the trust so that it would be a fraud on the power to exercise the power to benefit the settlor, not being a beneficiary.
Where the powers were conferred on the protector virtute officii, they are presumed to be fiduciary powers, as is also the case if the powers were conferred on them by name when, in the particular circumstances, they were selected as donees of the power because they were protectors.(153) As already seen, fiduciary powers must be exercised bona fide for the purposes for which the settlor created the powers and cannot be released nor used for any personal benefit of the donee.