Law and Public Safety

Law and Public Safety

Thomas Arras, Public Administrator

The Public Administrator is a public official of St. Louis County. The position was created by the St. Louis County Charter.

The office has nine employees including the Public Administrator. The purpose of this office is to provide services to the citizens of St. Louis County in the following situations:

  • When a person passes away in St. Louis County and there are assets located in St. Louis County to be preserved and there are no known family or friends. In such cases the Public Administrator may take charge of those assets and attempt to locate family and friends. If none are found, the office may proceed to actual appointment as the personal representative for the estate of the deceased person.

  • When a person passes away in St. Louis County and friends or family have petitioned to be the personal representative and there is a conflict between two parties seeking to be the personal representative. In such cases the court may request that the Public Administrator be appointed because of the conflict.

  • When a person who is living is in need of a guardian and/or conservator and there are no friends or family members who can file a petition, a state agency, nursing home or hospital will file a petition seeking the appointment of the Public Administrator.

  • When a person who is living is in need of a guardian and/or conservator and friends or family have petitioned to be the guardian/conservator and there is a conflict between two parties seeking to be the guardian/conservator. In such cases the court may request that the Public Administrator be appointed because of the conflict.

As you can see, the Public Administrator is an administrator (personal representative or guardian/conservator) of last resort. Most of these types of cases are handled by friends or family. The Public Administrator is only involved if there is an extraordinary need. The office does not actively seek these cases. They are presented to the office because there is a need for these services. Once involved, the office takes the responsibility seriously and fulfills the obligation assigned to it.

The Public Administrator is no different than any other administrator and the same rules and procedures apply to the office as to any other person acting in the capacity as a personal representative or guardian/conservator.