Interim Director, TGP

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Department: The Guardianship Project

Type: Temporary

Min. Experience: Executive

The Vera Institute of Justice is a justice reform change agent. Vera produces ideas, analysis, and research that inspire change in the systems people rely upon for safety and justice, and works in close partnership with government and civic leaders to implement it. Vera is a truly unique institution in the justice reform field in that it promotes fairness across a variety of substantive areas – bail reform, adult and youth confinement, access to justice for immigrants, services of victims of violence – and because it does so by working closely with national, state, and local leaders as a trusted partner. Vera is currently pursuing core priorities of ending the misuse of jails, transforming conditions of confinement, and ensuring that justice systems more effectively serve America’s increasingly diverse communities. For more information about Vera visit www.vera.org or visit our Facebook or Twitter.

The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) seeks a seasoned leader with a passion for justice to serve as Interim Director of The Guardianship Project, one of Vera’s demonstration projects, for four months, beginning July 15, 2017.

The Guardianship Project is an innovative program that provides guardianship services for older adults and people with disabilities in New York City who have been determined by a judge to be unable to care for themselves and have no friend or family to assist them. Project staff coordinate or provide an array of services—including litigation, health care, home care, and money management—and help clients to remain independent and engaged in their communities.  Launched in 2005, The Guardianship Project has served hundreds of New York City’s most vulnerable people and has become a leading voice in a national, interdisciplinary effort to re-envision and strengthen guardianship policy. In 2013, The Guardianship Project was selected to help design and launch, in partnership with the New York State Office of Court Administration, a statewide court-stakeholder group to assess needs, establish priority action areas in guardianship, and serve as a model for guardianship improvement nationwide.  In 2016, it was given a grant by the New York Community Trust to conduct a state wide research project on guardianships in New York.

Today, with both a steadily increasing caseload and relatively stable funding streams, The Guardianship Project is embarking on a new phase in its development, and seeks an accomplished, high-energy individual to lead the project in an interim capacity while the current Director is on leave. The Interim Director will lead a staff of 23 people, including lawyers, social workers, and property and finance professionals as they manage a demanding caseload of clients with complex, often urgent needs, and unique challenges. Additional critical priorities for the Interim Director are to work closely with Vera’s leadership team to explore opportunities for, and create a strategic plan to guide the project’s path to independence from Vera, and to further develop the project’s presence in the policy sphere. The Interim Director will report to Vera’s Executive Vice President and Special Counsel.

 

Demonstration Projects at Vera

A unique and important part of Vera’s work since its inception has been to develop, operate, and study criminal and social justice demonstration projects, often with the purpose of spinning them off into independent entities or into governmental structures. Vera works with government partners to design these projects and then tests them to ascertain whether they address the identified problem and have a positive impact on people’s lives. Vera has a long tradition of demonstrations that provide affordable, direct services to vulnerable populations, and has expanded its model of demonstration to include broader pilots where Vera develops and administers a program that is carried out by government or nonprofit partners. Vera operates demonstration projects only long enough to test and refine their designs.

Vera has spun off many of its direct service demonstration projects into independent organizations. Since its inception, Vera has created 17 nonprofit organizations that represent innovative models for employment, victim services, indigent defense, drug treatment, and related programs, and include Safe Horizon, the Center for Employment Opportunities, and Esperanza.

 

Responsibilities

The Interim Director’s role can be divided into three components:

  • Operational oversight.  Overseeing all aspects of TGP’s work including providing oversight to TGP lawyers, social workers, finance, property and administrative professionals who together collaborate to provide effective guardianship services to all clients.  Overseeing the project’s budget and finances, personnel management, and organizational legal issues, in conjunction with Vera’s finance, people and culture, and legal teams.
  • Policy initiatives.  Where necessary, working with TGP’s legal team to support TGP’s role as a leader in discussions around guardianship policy and reform.
  • Strategic planning. Where necessary, working with Vera’s Executive Vice President & Special Counsel and Vera’s advisory team to work toward TGP’s spin-off from Vera.

 

Operational Oversight

The Interim Director will lead a staff of 23, which includes lawyers, social workers, and property and finance professionals, who collaborate to provide effective services and advocacy geared toward maintaining clients with dignity and autonomy in the least restrictive environment. The Interim Director will, in collaboration with Vera’s central office, oversee all aspects of the project’s work, including hiring, training, and supervising the project’s staff. She or he will also maintain relationships with government and community agencies, develop and implement program policies and procedures, maintain quality control, manage urgent developments, and work with staff to prepare and submit all written materials, evaluations, and reports.

TGP currently serves as court-appointed guardians for approximately 150 living individuals in Kings, New York, Bronx and Queens Counties. The Interim Director will oversee the further development of the project’s infrastructure, growth of its staff, and expansion of its operations to include additional regions of direct coverage and the provision of technical assistance to government and other agencies outside of New York City.

 

Policy Initiatives

In 2013, The Guardianship Project was selected to serve on the New York State court system’s newly formed steering committee to design and launch a statewide court-stakeholder group to assess needs and establish priority action areas in guardianship, and serve as a template for establishing a collaborative model for guardianship improvement in other regions, as part of the Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS) initiative launched from the Third National Guardianship Summit in 2011.  In 2016, Partnering with Virginia Tech, in 2016, TGP undertook a research project on exploring various aspects of guardianship in New York State. The Interim Director will oversee the legal staff that will take over working with the Office of Court Administration, WINGS delegates, Virginia Tech and others to continue the project’s role as a leading advocate in guardianship policy reform.

 

Strategic Planning

Where necessary, the Guardianship Project Interim Director will work with Vera’s Executive Vice President and Special Counsel and other Vera team members to continue to develop and execute a strategic plan that will chart the course toward spin off from Vera.

 

Specific Short-Term Objectives for the Interim Director’s four month tenure include:

  • Directly supervising the Director of Legal Services; Operations Director (for operations and policy related work); Director of Case Management; Director of Finance and Administration; and Director of Development;
  • Overseeing major initiatives by each supervised unit (e.g., policy initiatives, development strategy, new programs, and operational/infrastructural changes) and revision of the TGP operating manual;
  • Beginning to target possible board members for post spin off oversight;
  • Overseeing all staffing issues;
  • Leading regular meetings including:  weekly all staff team meetings; post team; and weekly senior manager meetings;
  • Overseeing process of discharging clients;
  • Ensuring all court mandated deadlines and case load targets are met;
  • Overseeing Development Department in ensuring timely and accurate work under our grants as well as ensuring accurate and timely grant reporting;
  • Upon advice from the Case Management and Legal Teams, making all FHCDA decisions and major medical choice decisions;
  • Upon advice from the Legal, Case Management, and Finance departments, making final decisions regarding the taking of particular clients and assisting/intervening with difficult/complex cases;
  • Serving as Signature Power for client related matters: leases/reverse mortgages/pre-needs/marshalling; and
  • Overseeing Legal Department in regard to Court related relationships.

 

Qualifications

Vera seeks a candidate with the following qualities and skills:

  • Experience managing a program or organization;
  • Operational expertise, flexibility, a collaborative spirit, and excellent organizational sensibility;
  • Knowledge of Guardianship;
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice, including experience working with older adults and people with disabilities, or another vulnerable population, and their families;
  • Ability to manage a diverse team of staff in the administration of direct services across multiple disciplines in a fast paced work environment;
  • Ability to manage budgets with multiple funding streams;
  • Experience working with government, social service agencies, and benefits programs;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Degree in law, or advanced degree in social work or related field.

 

 

Salary

Commensurate with experience, plus excellent benefits.

 

How to apply

Please submit cover letter, resume, and salary requirements. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.                      

Online submission in PDF format is preferred. However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to

ATTN: Human Resources / TGP Interim Director Recruitment

Vera Institute of Justice

233 Broadway, 12th Floor

New York, NY 10279

Fax: (212) 941-9407

Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.

No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

 

Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment, or caregiver status. 

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.

 

For more information about Vera please visit www.vera.org.

 

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