October 31, 2014

County looking for new public guardian

Posted

STANDISH — The Arenac County Board of Commissioners accepted a letter of resignation from part-time public guardian Susan Knight during its March 4 meeting, and approved a motion to begin searching for a replacement.

Knight’s resignation is effective May 31. County Clerk Rick Rockwell said her resignation was due to relocation.

“She gave the board a notice a week or so ago so they would have time to handle a transition, because when you lose a guardian, you have to do final accounting on all the accounts,” he said. “Then, you transfer the cases.”

According to Dale Raymond, the coordinator for the Arenac County Public Guardian office, the county employs two part-time guardians who both work 20 hours per week. However, the job may require them to put in more work, as guardians are usually available to their clients any time, Raymond said.

Each guardian is currently handling 34 cases, Raymond said. Many of the responsibilities revolve around filing Social Security reports and communicating with the Department of Human Services, Raymond said, which is why having a caretaker background is helpful.

“We do look for something like that — if you’ve been in the field working with elderly people,” she said. “That’s a big concern. You’ve got to be people-friendly, know what they’re going through.”

A letter to the Independent from Kathy Taylor, the county’s other part-time guardian, lays out some of the job duties the office, which operates under Probate Court, is responsible for.

“The primary purpose of a guardianship is to provide a substitute decision-maker for certain personal decisions,” she said in the letter.

Taylor said decisions can be made in cases of consenting to medical or professional care, counseling or services; releasing information for treatment or other purposes; establishing a place of residence; making travel arrangements; taking care of clothing, furniture or a vehicle; consenting to photographs and fingerprinting; arranging for education or training; arranging the purchase of food or clothing; and handling money.

“When family or friends are unable to take up the responsibility (ability is up to the judge’s discretion), then the judge appoints the county’s public guardian to the case,” Taylor’s letter said.

Rockwell said the opening would be posted internally in the county building first, and then eventually would be advertised to the general public.

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