Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation that will require certification of some guardians of impaired adults.
House Bill 2539, which was first introduced in February and takes effect Jan. 1, mandates certification of the public guardians appointed by the governor to serve in individual counties.
The News-Democrat reported in May that little accountability in guardianship of adults unable to manage their affairs has caused problems.
Attorney John F. Pawloski, who claimed to be St. Clair County’s public guardian and administrator, has refused to account for his use of wards’ and deceased people’s estate money, though he has agreed to repay more than $70,000 missing from some of the estates.
Pawloski has appealed a judge’s demand he provide an accounting, and that appeal is pending in the 5th District Appellate Court in Mount Vernon. No one knows how he was named public guardian. The governor makes the appointment, and a former Gov. Rod Blagojevich spokesman said that office never did appoint Pawloski, but local clerks and judges thought he was the appointee.
Another guardian, Sharon Mehrtens, who runs a private business serving as guardian of those unable to manage their affairs and executor of deceased people’s estates, hasn’t accounted for her spending in several years in some cases but continues to collect professional fees from the wards and their estates.
Pawloski’s lawyers have advised him not to speak with reporters. Mehrtens has said she is often late in her reports because she doesn’t always know when they are due. Previous judges had her on three-year filing schedules.
House Bill 2539 requires certification of the public guardians appointed by the governor to serve in individual counties. It doesn’t apply to professional guardians, such as Mehrtens, or the Office of the State Guardian, which represents wards who have less than $25,000 to their estates. That agency already requires certification of guardians, and Illinois law doesn’t require professional guardians to be certified.
Some guardianship experts say that while the bill is a good step, it won’t prevent fraud committed by guardians.
The bill was drafted by the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, a state division that pushes new legislation. Representatives of the Guardianship and Advocacy commission have said the agency won’t consider any more legislative reform until the fall.
Full Article and Source:
New Law Requires Some Guardians to be Certified
For additional information on James Pawloski, see:
Will Justice Be Served?
For additional information on Sharon Mehrtens, see:
Can’t Win Independence