Public Administrators are appointed by the Missouri Circuit Court, Probate Division, to serve primarily on three types of cases:
- Guardian and/or conservator for mentally disabled persons
- personal representative of deceased estates
- as conservator of minor estates.
However, the majority of appointments in any public administrator's office will be as
guardian/conservator for mentally disabled persons.
In all except three of Missouri's 114 counties, public administrators are elected to serve four-year terms. The counties of Jackson, St Louis and St Charles have the charter form of government and those public administrators are appointed by the Circuit Judges.
All public administrator offices in the State of Missouri are "fee offices" meaning that fees are charged for services (usually based upon the time invested by the PA and upon the client's ability to pay). Fees must be approved by Court Order.
Mission:It shall be the primary responsibility of the public administrator
and her employees to work toward improving the quality of life of persons under guardianship
while protecting the ward's dignity and self-respect. The ward's right of self-determination
shall be observed whenever possible. The growth of the ward shall be encouraged through
his/her increased participation in decision-making. The public administrator and her employees
shall use the standard of informed consent when making decisions on behalf of the ward. All
employees shall understand and follow the National Guardianship Association's Code of Ethics.
Further, all must understand that the guardian/conservator is required to exercise the highest
degree of trust and loyalty when making decisions for the ward/protectee.
Case Load: The Greene County Public Administrator's Office presently carries an open case load of around 500. While most clients reside in Southwest Missouri, some (for various reasons) live in other areas of the State and in several other states, as well. Of the some 450 ward/protectees under guardian and/or conservatorship, approximately 75% have mental illnesses. For this reason, a special emphasis is put on continuing education and training so that the public administrator and her staff can be better prepared to access, coordinate and monitor appropriate services for her clients.
Staff: The staff includes five deputy public administrators. These employees are deputized by the probate court at the request of the public administrator to perform such duties in her place as outlined in each individual deputy's certified appointment documents. This is especially important since the Public Administrator or one of her deputies must be on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All five Deputies have bachelor's level degrees. The four remaining employees perform various accounting, clerical, reception, and maintenance duties.
Bonding: When an estate contains $25,000 or more of unrestricted assets, an individual estate surety bond is purchased out of the estate's checking account. The volume of estates under the $25,000 threshold requires the Greene County Public Administrator to post a public official bond in the amount of $500,000. The Missouri Statutes give the Probate Court the authority to set the bond of the public administrator.