Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Judge Sets New Tone for Guardianships

Problems found in the management of wards under the county's care are being addressed, according to District Judge Dave Gamble, who took responsibility for some of the issues in an interview.

“My first reaction when I saw some of the shortcomings was how I could have let certain things happen,” Gamble said about guardianships managed by Public Administrator Lynn EnEarl. “We tend to get into auto-pilot mode, and one of the things I made clear was that I myself have the ultimate duty with regard to these wards.”

EnEarl didn't file annual reports on her wards or inventories in cases where she was named guardian by the court. The reports and inventories are required by state law, but EnEarl's attorney, Mike Rowe, said that in some cases judges waived the requirement.

The issues with the public administrator were brought to light by Special Advocates For the Elderly, who were appointed by Gamble and District Judge Michael Gibbons.

Gamble said he felt that the court and the public administrator have a duty to the wards, and he laid down new rules for dealing with them.

“Certainly, there were shortcomings in the performance of Ms. EnEarl, but I believe those have been corrected and that all of us involved in guardianship cases have realized that we have not had the day-to-day needs of the ward foremost in our minds,” he said. “It was not just Ms. EnEarl's fault. It was just as much mine as the ultimate authority in these cases. When a practice over decades has gotten into a pattern, it's tough to break yourself out of that pattern. The SAFE advocates helped us break the pattern.”

Gamble said that he gave EnEarl direction for the care of the wards. He credited the Special Advocates For the Elderly for their help.

“It has been a boon for the system in Douglas County and led to a much better protective system for the wards,” he said. “My perception is that this has been really positive.”

Full Article and Source:
Judge Sets New Tone for Guardianships

See Also:
More Cases Against Public Administrator


Anonymous said...

All judges have the ultimate responsibility to see that the law is followed. In cases like this, it is a purely administrative task - that of the clerks - to see that the reports are filed on time for judicial review. The ultimate responsibility is that of the judge. "Mea culpa" is not enough.

Lou said...

If this judge follows through then the wards may be a little safer in his court. Unfortunately this does not help ALL the others in this country who are being abused, neglected and exploited in our country. Thank you NASGA members for staying strong.

StandUp said...

All right, I appreciate your new found insight, District Judge Dave Gamble.

Now what are you going to do about all the victims of Lynn EnEarl?

Randy said...

Dancing in the streets for this success, SAFE advocates!

Mike said...

Pardon my cynacism, but in dealing with the courts for years, my experience has been that we family members try our very best to bring the autrocities to the attention of the court, only to be shot down by the judge.

So, when you question yourself, judge, perhaps you should also look back and see how many times family members tried to get your attention and you slammed the door in their faces.

Elaine said...

Pat yourselves on the back for a job well done, Advocates!

Anonymous said...

Good job, let's hope more good things are to come.