By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Almost without notice a new office has gone into operation in Davidson
County to oversee the handling of hundreds of persons placed in
conservatorships because they have been judged incapable of handling
some or all of their physical and financial needs.
Metro's longtime public guardian, Jeanan Stuart, stepped down from the
job in 2013 on the same day Probate Judge David "Randy" Kennedy
announced he would not assign her any new cases because of questions
about her billing practices. He also removed her from the cases she was
John Clemmons, a now disbarred Nashville attorney, is now serving a
lengthy jail sentence after pleading guilty in 2013 to the theft of more
than $1 million from conservatorship and estate cases he had been
assigned to oversee.
The creation of the new agency was recommended by a task force appointed
by Kennedy. Mayor Karl Dean subsequently included funding for the new
office in his budget for the current fiscal year, which was approved by
The new office is headed by Rachelle Gallimore-Scruggs, a former Metro
attorney. Her salary was set at $75,000 a year, according to court
administrator Tim Townsend.
Townsend said in an email that the purpose of the new office is to
review and monitor "the care and management provided by guardians and
Under Tennessee law conservators are appointed to care for adults, while guardians are named for minors.
Townsend said the new agency will work with existing Metro departments
including Metro Social Services which will send workers out on home
visits to those under conservatorship or guardianship. Financial reviews
will be performed on the handling of the wards' estates, he added.
The new office comes into operation following the passage of a new state
law recommended by a Tennessee Bar Association task force which held
hearings across the state
The new law clarified the roles of lawyers assigned by the court to
determine whether a conservatorship was justified. It also set new
deadlines and standards for the granting of conservatorships on an
Townsend said that Stuart's post as public guardian was never filled.
Instead a combination of willing attorneys and nonprofit agencies are
filling the role.
Full Article & Source:
New Metro Office Overseeing Conservatorships