Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Metro Office Overseeing Conservatorships

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.

The new Office of Conservatorship Management was created last year in the wake of a series of critical reports on the handling of such cases with problems ranging from questionable billing practices to outright larceny.

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 then handling.

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 Metro Council.

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 conservators."

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 emergency basis.

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 


Finny said...

Jeanan Mills Stuart should be in jail with Clemmons.

If she was a family member instead of the public guardian, she would be.

StandUp said...

It's got to be an improvement from Stuart.

Even so, Stuart was not the whole problem. Judge Randy Kennedy approved everything she did and everything John Clemmons did without question.

How many more thieves are there operating in Davidson County who are protected by Judge Randy Kennedy?

Anonymous said...

Rachelle Gillmore-scruggs has the same effect on the office as her predicessors. Randy Kennedy signs everything that she gives him. It has cost my mother's estate 1000s of Dollars in attorney fees. Randy Kennedy needs to retire.