Certified Professional Guardian Board (CPGB)
November 14, 2011 CPGB Meeting Minutes
Call to Order
Judge Lawler called the meeting to order at 9:00 am.
Introductions were made and Judge Lawler welcomed Judge Sally Olsen to the Board.
2. Approval of Minutes
Motion: A motion was made and seconded to approve the October 10, 2011 meeting minutes as presented. The motion passed.
3. Chair Report
Judge Lawler reviewed the committee list. He noted that the Ethics Committee was not formed; it will instead fall under the Regulations Committee.
Standards of Practice (SOP) Committee—The Chair noted that the main committee has four members and that a committee member pointed out that the regulations call for the committee to have only three members. After discussion with other committee members, it was decided that, due to the volume of work, it would be appropriate to maintain four members. The question was raised whether there was any concern over the committee having an even number of members in that it could possibly result in split votes; it was agreed that the even number of members is not a concern because recommendations come to full board for approval.
Alternate Standards of Practice Committee (SOP)—A committee member had raised the question of whether it is appropriate for the Board Chair to serve on this committee. Judge Lawler explained that he is essentially a placeholder on the committee roster. Noting that the Alternate SOP Committee has never met, Judge Lawler questioned whether the Committee is necessary. There was some discussion and explanation that this committee exists to provide back up in the event that a guardian serving on the committee is the subject of a complaint. It was decided that the committee would remain in place and that Judge Lawler would continue to be on the Committee roster.
At the conclusion of the discussion, it was decided that the Committee List would stay as proposed.
The Administrative Office of the Courts has discussed possibly eliminating both the Certified Professional Guardian Board (CPGB) and the Office of Public Guardianship (OPG) to achieve possible budget cuts. Input was requested from the Superior Court Judges’ Association (SCJA) regarding that possibility.
Shirley Bondon explained the current budget situation:
Total cost of the Board is between $60,000 and $70,000 per year. It was confirmed that those meeting costs do include the Long-Range Planning Committee meetings, with each regular meeting at approximately $1,500 and the Long-Range Planning Committee meeting at $4000.
In answer to an inquiry from the Board, Ms. Bondon explained that the OPG budget is $540,000 this year for approximately 80 cases (not including staff); OPG programs are only operating in 10 counties, so it is still considered a pilot program; and that although the program is believed to save money, the cost savings is for the state, not the judiciary, so it doesn’t really act as a mitigating factor in Judiciary budgetary decisions.
The Chair noted that board members and co-chairs of the SCJA Guardianship and Probate Committee, Commissioner Valente and Judge Swisher had sent a letter to the SCJA in support of the Board.
Regarding whether the entire board was definitely on the table to be eliminated, or if they are also considering cutbacks; it was noted that the understanding is that they are looking at all options.
There was a suggestion that the CPG Board make a formal request to the Access to Justice (ATJ) Board for support, and also that it would be worthwhile to reach out and educate Superior Court Judges about the purpose and benefit of the CPG Board.
There was a discussion of possible ways to cut board costs:
Ms. Bondon introduced Katrin Johnson and explained that she would be staffing the Applications and Education committees and said that some of the suggestions would be helpful to decrease the workload for staff, such as setting one or two deadline dates rather than accepting and reviewing applications year round, noting that it makes sense, especially in light of the University of Washington Certificate program reducing to one time per year rather than two.
4. Education Committee Report
Education Regulations 201, 202 and 213 were previously posted for comment. All comments received were included in the meeting materials. The Education Committee reviewed the comments and in response to comments, made recommendations for adjustments. After discussion, a suggestion was made to table the discussion regarding these changes until the budget issues are sorted out.
Board members discussed the benefits and complications of adding the category of “Cultural Diversity” to the continuing education requirements.
A few questions were raised: Shouldn’t guardians choose their own classes like attorneys do? Should the Board dictate the allocation of continuing education credits by category or rely on professional discretion to identify what is needed?
It was noted that the training available to CPGs is limited and isn’t always of high quality, and that the tendency is that any continuing education credit requests that are submitted are subsequently approved.
It was suggested that guardians might benefit from attending classes designed for other professions, e.g. nurses, social workers, etc.
A board member stated that education providers plan their workshops to ensure participants obtain the credits needed by attending two training days per year. Sometimes if CPGs mix providers, they may not earn the appropriate number of credits, or trainings are stacked in particular categories.
The recommendation regarding the regulation changes was that they be taken back to the Education Committee. The Education Committee was asked to research continuing education requirements for other profession (nurses, social workers, attorneys) and determine how they handle categorization and tracking of continuing education credits.
A suggestion was made that the Board send the regulations back to the Education Committee with some guidance, by way of informal vote, regarding what needs to be addressed:
Everyone agreed that cultural diversity is good for CPGs; the problem lies with the number of categories, the number of credits, and the administrative complications.
Motion: A motion was made and seconded to send regulations 201, 202 and 213 back to the Education Committee to review the issue further, taking budgetary issues into account. The motion passed.
Board members discussed proposed changes to regulations 208, 209, and 211.
The proposed changes include establishing firm deadlines for completion of continuing education and eliminating extended grace periods for reporting continuing education. The rationale is that moving to a biannual reporting period will provide a longer period of time for guardians to complete credits. There was some discussion regarding ways to motivate guardians to meet requirements by the set deadlines in addition to the current penalties, which aren’t entirely effective. There was concern raised that the penalties not be too extreme, but still effective. It was suggested that the issue should be sent back to the Education Committee.
Motion: A motion was made and seconded to table the issue until there has been further discussion on the budgetary impact on continuing education and reporting categories, and that when the issue was addressed that they should consider the possibility of increasing late fees. The motion passed.
Standards of Practice Committee
In Hardee vs. State the Supreme Court has ruled that the standard of proof required to revoke a professional license is preponderance of the evidence. The standard set by the Supreme Court is inconsistent with the standard currently being used by the CPGB. The language used in the current regulation is “clear and convincing,” while Hardee supports a lower standard of “preponderance.” The Standards of Practice (SOP) Committee proposes a change to the current regulation by replacing “clear and convincing evidence in all cases” to “a preponderance of the evidence in all cases.”
The small number of comments that were submitted in opposition to the change expressed concerns that lowering the standard would make it too easy for the board to revoke a guardian’s license. However, the position of the SOP Committee is that the Supreme Court decision satisfactorily explains the rationale behind the change.
Motion: A motion was made to modify regulation in accordance with Hardee. The motion was seconded and approved.
5. Executive Session
The Board adjourned to executive session.
6. Open Session
The Board reconvened in open session and took the following actions:
Judge Lawler noted the next meeting will be in person on January 9, 2012 at the AOC SeaTac Facility beginning at 9:00 am. Judge Lawler adjourned the meeting at approximately 12:45 pm.
Respectfully submitted, Judge Lawler
Meeting minutes approved on
Recap of Motions from November 14, 2011 Meeting
Action Items for November 14, 2011 Meeting
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