Richards wins public administrator position

She will manage the estates of those who cannot do so on their own.

Democrat Cathy Richards is the new Boone County public administrator, with almost 58 percent of the vote. Richards's supporters at Billiards on Broadway all filed by her and enthusiastically congratulated her on her victory.

"I am so happy for her. She completely deserved it," party attendee Destiny Hritz said.

The support for Richards has been strong, and many people at the party were confident she would win. Don Stamper, who was on the Boone County Commission with Richards, said he felt that way, especially after her strong victory in the primary.

"She sold herself to the people of Boone County," Stamper said, adding that she has all the qualities to be public administrator.

"She has a great heart, is a great leader, a quality person," Stamper said.

Few people know about the job of public administrator. However, it is a job that is important for about 400 people in Boone County. Richards called it the most misunderstood office.

The public administrator manages the estates of those who cannot manage their estates on their own, and have no one else to assume the responsibility. Those people include the deceased, minors and the mentally disabled. About 80 percent of the people the public administrator serves in Boone County have been diagnosed with a mental illness, Richards said.

When Democratic incumbent Connie Hendren took office 16 years ago, she was managing less than $500,000 in assets. Now she manages about $14 million.

Richards works in Hendren's office.

Her duties include finding housing, employment and medical care for those people. The public administrator "protects the assets against injury, waste, theft, and loss."

A judge decides whether a person needs a legal guardian. The public administrator can be the conservator, guardian or both for the individual. The conservator deals with the monetary assets of the individual. As a guardian, the public administrator deals with the personal care of the individual such as finding housing and medical care.

Richards reflected on the long campaign that began back in February.

"I did not do this by myself," Richards said.

Richards now will go through training with other public administrators in November in Jefferson City. She will be meeting with Hendren and most likely take a week's vacation to meet with Hendren's clients. But for now, Richards is going to celebrate.

"I am glad," Richards said. "They finally let me have a piece of my cake."

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