September 20, 2014

Commissioners vote to keep Public Guardian office

Posted

STANDISH — The Arenac County Board of Commissioners voted Feb. 16 to keep the Public Guardian office open at this time, and they are accepting applications for the position.

“It will continue operating the way it has been,” Board Chairman Ray Daniels said.

The board also asked Richard Vollbach to share his thoughts on maintaining the office, and Vollbach said he sent a memo to the meeting about his view and other options the commissioners could consider.

Vollbach said another option for the Public Guardian office would be to hire an independent agency, but he recommended that the board consider giving the current administration a chance.

“We have a new guardian that’s doing the work and doing a good job,” Vollbach said.

The commissioners initially discussed discontinuing the position at the end of March, after former guardians Sherilyn Jones and Robert Romps were both charged with embezzlement in December 2009. Jones was charged with one count of criminal enterprise, two counts of embezzlement by a public official, one count of embezzlement from vulnerable adults, and one count of conspiring to embezzle over $200 but less than $1,000. Romps was charged with one count of embezzlement by a public official over $50.

An investigation by the Michigan State Police that began June 2009 found more than $300,000 in funds were misappropriated from about 50 clients from 1999 to 2009.

The Michigan State Police arrested Romps and Jones, along with Jones’ mother, Sally Lebeau, on Dec. 8. Lebeau was charged with conspiring to embezzle over $200 but less than $1,000.

Applications for the public guardian position are due March 1.

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