Saturday, October 31, 2015

Problems with the Complaint Process - Our reply

To: Mary Ann Lynch, Esq

From: Jerome A Collins, MD

Subject: Your reply to my query.

1.) As you state, there was indeed a very long time period for public (and other) input into the new GAL Rules and the complaint Board. It went on over a period of years. I can safely say that during its extremely lengthy "gestation period", there were numerous public occasions in legislative hearings, in JB committees  and in private conversations with you, in which very strong opposition to the placement of the Board under the management of the Overseers of the Bar was expressed. It was no secret. There was virtually unanimous opposition by our group - and by any and all GAL service consumers - to having the complaint protocol handled by the lawyers' "guild".  So from a consumer/grass-roots/user perspective the Judicial Branch has chosen a lawyer-friendly rather than a consumer friendly approach to GAL  complaint management.

I would add that the most significant problems with the actual Board could not be evident until a Board was appointed, so there was absolutely no way of raising our concerns about the Board composition and membership in advance.

2.) Your refusal to answer the questions in my earlier memo is (to my knowledge) a first for you in all the time I have known you, and admired your incredible (and commendable) work ethic. I asked questions seeking guidance from you on general principles about the particular committee. It struck me and others that Senator Dutremble (or any legislator) would be severely hamstrung in his service to  constituents, if his constituents were to have a GAL complaint. It also seems that Mr Prescott will have extensive external channels of information about GALs from MEGALI members, just by being a member of MEGALI himself, and that his access to this information effectively sabotaged the purity of the screening steps to be conducted by the Overseers' staff. It is not hard to imagine that he will have all sorts of information about "officers of the court" who belong to his "club"  before anyone else on the committee.  Everyone is equal, but some are more equal, as they say.

I regret that you are unwilling to provide guidance as an informational service to those who might consider using the GAL complaint service.  As things stand with the GAL Board, we are tempted to borrow from Ralph Nader's comment about General Motors: "Unsafe at any speed!!"  Not designed for the safety of families and children!

The emails between MeGAL and the Judicial Branch:

2015-10-21 Is the New Maine Guardian ad litem Complaint Process Fair to Parents?

2015-10-30 The Judicial Branch replies on the Complaint Process

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