12:30 PM

This is Sharon Walles second run for the office of Stone County's Public Administrator.

Walles, 49, who graduated from Reeds Spring High School in 1981, received 34% of the vote when she ran in 2008 against the incumbent.

She has been employed for the last year-and-a-half at Life Enhancement Village of the Ozarks in Nixa.  She has over twelve years experience in the areas of skilled and residential care.  Prior to that, she worked part time for two years in the Public Administrator's office in Galena.

"Most of the people who live in Stone County don't understand what the Public Administrator does. There are different instances that come into play when someone goes under guardianship.  Most people think that when someone goes under guardianship that they're put somewhere against their will, that's not always the case."

The office of Public Administrator is not a business administration position, instead it acts as an officer of the court.  Those who hold the office must adhere to the National Guardianship Association’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. 

When the court finds that a person can no longer make decisions for themselves and no one steps in to act as their advocate, a public administrator is appointed.  Sometimes when family members get into a dispute about the care of a loved one the public administrator is appointed to make decisions. If someone passes away and there are no family members, once again, the public administrators office is appointed to oversee the estate.  They are also responsible for the placement and referral of people who become their wards.  They also oversee the mental and physical care of their wards.

"When you become someone's guardian you make all the decisions for them," said Walles.  'It's a huge responsibility; some people are able to live on their own, and there are others that need more structure.  This position takes compassion and understanding"'

Walles and her husband Mark have been married for 29 years and are members of Wright's Chapel.  They have two grown children.

"I want to make a difference in Ward's lives and to be there for the citizens of Stone County who have questions about the care of their loved ones and neighbors who may need assistance from the public administrators office," said Walles.