Certified Professional Guardian Board (CPGB)
June 27-28, 2008
1. Size and Composition of the Board
Judge Van Deren introduced the topic with a brief history of events following her last Board member nominations earlier in the year. Upon receiving those nominations, the Supreme Court suggested that the size of the Board be evaluated as to its efficiency in accomplishing its responsibilities and goals, while being mindful of keeping expenses to the necessary minimum.
Judge Van Deren then met with Judicial Services Director, Dirk Marler, and AOC Staff to discuss the Supreme Court’s comments and evaluate the need for an 18 member Board in light of the increase in quality program staffing. AOC met its commitment to improve the quality and level of staffing to the Board by adding the Guardian Investigator position and retaining experienced program management staff. The additional staffing now allows the Board to delegate, as appropriate, the necessary front-end work involved in performing its duties and the Board may direct its energies toward formulating policy and taking final action. In light of these improvements, the need for a larger Board membership to share the workload may no longer be necessary.
The memorandum contained in the meeting materials is the culmination of these discussions and review of the make-up and processes of other professional regulatory boards and commissions. The recommendation is to reduce the Board to 12-15 members, retain the three most active committees as standing committees (Standards of Practice, Applications/Certification & Education), and appoint ad hoc committees for tasks as needed. As to Board composition, the recommendation is to evaluate representation based on the Board’s vision for accomplishing its future goals, keeping in mind that judicial officers retain a significant presence as the Board is part of the judicial arm of government and directly responsible to the Supreme Court.
Judge Van Deren invited discussion on the recommendations, and asked for suggestions on how the Board wishes to nominate new members in the future and how the Board will utilize committees to do its work.
Board members expressed concern that reducing the size of the Board will increase the time demands in committee work. In response, it was expressed that it is a common fear that reducing board or committee membership will increase the demands on individual board members, but that once the board moves from the working-board model to the staff supported model the board member time commitment is reduced.
Suggestions were made to expand the ad hoc committee appointments to include interest group representatives. This would help with the workload, tap area expertise, insure that stakeholder interests are represented and create a pool of future board members familiar with Board process and policy. In response, there was a question raised as to whether individuals outside the Board membership would really commit the necessary time and effort needed to accomplish many of the tasks currently delegated to committees. Mr. Marler indicated that the Board of Judicial Administration (BJA) and other boards include their non-voting committee members as part of the standard agenda and the level of commitment and interest of committee members has not been dependent on full board membership.
The benefits of reducing the size of the Board were summarized as: more productive meetings; more efficient use of smaller committees; easier to schedule meetings; a closer, more invested group so members will commit for longer periods; reduction in expenses.
The biggest concern voiced by Board members was the potential for diluting the breadth of represented interests in the Board membership which may go beyond the areas listed in GR 23. It was recognized that as a regulatory body, this Board is unique in the varied interest groups represented. Though many Board members agreed that the work could probably be accomplished with 12 members, a majority of the Board members stressed the greater importance of diversity in Board membership over the advantages that may come from such a large reduction in size. Judge Van Deren and Dirk Marler both indicated that the 12 member board was the minimum size being suggested, and that it may be necessary and appropriate for membership to be 13 - 15 for the Board to accomplish its goals.
Several members suggested that if the consensus is to reduce the membership to 12, all members should be polled privately as to their ability and interest in continued service. It was moved and seconded that the Board be reduced in size to 12 members. The motion passed. Sharon York abstained.
Judge Van Deren suggested that the Board create a committee to vet and recruit new members, in addition to spotting future issues that might benefit from a particular expertise or viewpoint. It was also suggested that the Nominating Committee assess current Board member individual skill sets for best contribution to effectuating the Board’s goals.
David Lord, Director of Public Policy for Disability Rights Washington (DRW), was asked to provide his comments and perspective on the composition of the Board, as well as other suggested amendments to GR 23. Mr. Lord indicated he is in favor of a Nominating Committee and any other avenue, be it ad hoc committee involvement or otherwise, by which advocates may participate and contribute their opinions or suggestions. Mr. Lord emphasized that the representation of the stakeholders on the Board is so important in the guardianship arena because the stakeholders advocate for those that cannot advocate for themselves, and that he would be happy to assist in recruiting candidates. In regards to the composition of the Board as reflected in the suggested amendments to GR 23, DRW supports the suggested cap on CPG representation at one-third. Judge Van Deren thanked Mr. Lord for his comments and for making the trip to attend the Board’s retreat.
Board Member Terms
Several members indicated that this issue has already come to the full Board and the Board voted for a (3) three-year term limit. The Board considered all of the suggested amendments to GR 23 based on the recommendations of the previously appointed GR 23 Committee appointed by the Board. A motion was made and seconded to recommend to the Supreme Court that GR 23 be amended to limit a Board member’s term to (2) three-year terms. The motion failed. The Board’s original suggested amendment to GR 23 for a limit of (3) three-year terms stands.
As to the Board’s committee structure, Judge Van Deren proposed for discussion that the Board retain the three most active standing committees (Standards of Practice, Applications & Certification, Education), and create a fourth standing committee, the Nominating Committee, and that ad hoc committees be appointed for other issues and tasks.
Board members discussed the transition over the last few years from the working board model -- where Board members performed a majority of the up-front work required to bring an issue or matter to the Board -- to the fully staffed board model -- where staff gather the information needed, consult with the appropriate committee and draft the proposal for Board action. The Board now has the foundation of a body of regulations, advisory opinions and policy/procedure for performing its varied functions. It may now rely on this foundation to guide committees and staff in their work prior to bringing the policy issues and matters for final decision to the full Board. Board members expressed their interest in the ad hoc committee approach that incorporates stakeholder and advocate members. The Board approved Judge Van Deren’s proposal by acclamation.
Phil Talmadge, Guest Speaker
Mr. Talmadge is a partner in the law firm of Talmadge/Fitpatrick, PLLC, which specializes in appellate advocacy and professional ethics and responsibility. He is a former Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court (1995-2001), former Washington State Senator (1979-1995), and has been a practicing attorney since 1976. Specific to the Certified Professional Guardian Board, Mr. Talmadge served as Supreme Court Justice when the Court adopted GR 23. Mr. Talmadge graciously agreed to share with the Board his insights, knowledge and perspective on the role of the professional regulatory board in Washington State and how the Board may continue to achieve its ultimate goal of protecting the vulnerable public in the ever-evolving and challenging professional regulatory arena.
Judge Van Deren announced that the Board will reconvene tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. and adjourned the meeting at approximately 5:30 p.m.
Call to Order
Disciplinary Sanction Guidelines
Deborah Jameson, Guardian Investigator, presented proposed Disciplinary Sanction Guidelines, reviewed and recommended by the Standards of Practice Committee (SOPC), for consideration by the Board. As an introduction to the presentation, Ms. Jameson invited the Board members to participate in a game of Jeopardy focusing on the Board’s Standards of Practice and Disciplinary Regulations. Ms. Jameson then asked the Board members what are the necessary considerations in determining the appropriate discipline. The list of considerations identified are: consistency; proportionality; costs; timeliness; protecting the reputation of the CPG; impact on the geographic availability of CPG services; obtaining sufficient information; evaluating credibility; protecting the IP and family. Ms. Jameson indicated that the Disciplinary Sanction Guidelines were created to provide a framework for incorporating these considerations. The sanction determination process is divided into six steps, each of which is set forth in the detailed worksheets provided:
Step 1: What is the Nature of the Violation?
Step 2: What is the Guardian’s Mental State?
Step 3: Is There a Potential or Actual Injury?
Step 4: What are the Aggravating and Mitigating Factors?
Step 5: What is the Level of the Conduct and the Sanction?
Step 6: What Conditions are Appropriate to Protect the Public?
The Board was then asked to break into small groups and apply the Disciplinary Sanction Guidelines in a hypothetical fact pattern. The groups presented their recommended sanction level and rationale. The Board members found the worksheets useful and would like them available to the CPGs. In addition, the Board would like the Grievance Process more widely circulated. Staff will post the Grievance Process on the Board’s website and circulate to the CPG list serve. The Disciplinary Sanction Guidelines will be distributed once they are finalized.
Judge Van Deren and Staff indicated that a proposal for removing the mental state consideration (Step 2) by amending Disciplinary Regulation 515 will be forwarded to the SOPC for future recommendation to the Board. The need for considering this change came to light after Staff review of other professional regulatory sanction policies and case law. The guardian’s mental state may not be relevant in determining the disciplinary sanction necessary to protect the vulnerable public, but it may be considered as an aggravating or mitigating factor. Several Board members voiced their interest in reviewing the relevant case law as well as the other professional regulatory sanction models. Staff will gather the information necessary for SOPC and Board consideration of this proposal.
GR 23 Suggested Amendments
Judge Van Deren summarized the remaining GR 23 issues to be considered: the effect on CPG applicants enrolled in the Fall UWEO Guardianship Certificate Program if the Supreme Court adopts the suggested increase in the minimum education requirements; and the Recommendations from the CPGB GR 23 Committee.
Effect of Increase in GR 23 Minimum Education Requirements & Conditional Approval
A concern was raised regarding the applicant who is a high school graduate enrolled in the UWEO program, and prior to completion of the program, GR 23 is amended to increase the minimum education requirement to an associate degree. A majority of the Board members voiced their support for applying the GR 23 requirements in effect at the time the applicants began the UWEO program. After further discussion a motion was made and properly seconded to apply the GR 23 requirements in effect on the date of the first day of instruction in the UWEO Program, or the date the applicant has submitted a complete application for certification as a professional guardian, whichever date is earlier. The motion passed.
The Board also expressed interest in notifying applicants who are considering enrolling in the UWEO Program as to whether they meet the minimum qualifications for certification as a professional guardian. A motion was made and properly seconded to direct the Applications Committee to review the pending applications and recommend to the Board those applications that should be conditionally approved, subject to successful completion of the UWEO Guardianship Certificate Program and no disqualifying events occurring prior to certification. The motion passed unanimously.
Recommendations from the CPGB GR 23 Committee
The Board voted on each recommendation from the CPGB GR 23 Committee, as indicated below:
1. CPG Board Membership Requirements -- GR 23 (c)(1)(i)
The Board voted to retain the original suggested amendment to cap CPG membership at one-third. The Board rejected the Committee recommendation to require CPG members have five years of experience and a minimum of ten current clients.
2. Board Terms -- GR 23(c)(1)(ii)
The Board rejected the Committee recommendation to limit members to (2) three-year terms.
3. Educational Requirements -- GR 23(d)(1)(iv)
The Board rejected the Committee recommendation to add language clarifying that the increased educational requirements and new mandatory training required of applicants for certification does not apply to a currently certified professional guardian.
4. Experience Requirements -- GR (d)(1)(v)
The Board approved the Committee recommendation to add language to the experience requirement that prior experience may be on behalf of clients "and others".
5. Credit Reporting Requirements -- GR 23(d)(1)(vii)
The Board approved the Committee recommendation to limit bankruptcy filing disclosure and submission of credit reports to the past seven years. The Board also approved the recommendation to move the credit reporting provision under bankruptcy disclosure.
6. Disclosure -- GR 23(e)(4)
The Board approved the Committee recommendation to specify that disclosure of pending licensing or disciplinary action be limited to those actions related to fiduciary responsibilities.
7. Board Conflicts -- GR 23(c)(6)
The Board approved the Committee recommendation to add clarifying language "including but not limited to" prior to listing reasons for disqualification.
Judge Van Deren
Board Approved: August 4, 2008
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