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Attorney General Nessel Announces Three New County Public Administrator Appointments

LANSING Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced the recent appointment of three new county public administrators. Melissa S. Sprague serves as the Arenac County public administrator; Shane M. Childers serves as the Lapeer County public administrator; and Sara J. Basso serves as the Iron County public administrator. 

"I am confident Arenac, Lapeer, and Iron Counties will be well served by their newly appointed administrators,” said Nessel. “Each of these new public administrators have exceptional experience in public service and I’m grateful to their dedication to continue that service for their communities.”

Sprague, of Standish, is a graduate of Ferris State University and the University of Nebraska College of Law. After working for Legal Services of Eastern Michigan, she entered private practice as a partner at Broughton & Sprague, PLLC. Sprague's practice focuses primarily on probate and estate planning, family law, real estate, and bankruptcy. She is the founder and President of the non-profit Bridging the Gap for the Elderly. Sprague was sworn in on August 7th.

Childers, of Imlay City, is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint and Regent University Law School. He spent four years working as a federal prosecutor with the United States Air Force JAG Corp before transitioning to private practice in 2013. He became a partner in the Rickard Denney law firm based in Lapeer County in 2017. Childers practices in the areas of estate planning, probate administration, trust administration, business law, and general civil litigation. He is also an active member of the United States Air Force Reserves and is currently assigned to the Headquarters, U.S. Northern Command located at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado. Childers was sworn in on August 8th.

Basso, of Iron River, a graduate of Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana and Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, Michigan, has worked in both the public and private sectors, serving as a special hearing officer for the Michigan Department of Civil Service and the Michigan Tax Tribunal. Basso’s private practice has focused on administrative law and civil mediation. In addition to her legal work, Basso has been an active member of community and regional organizations. Basso was sworn in on August 11th.

“I look forward to working with each of the new county public administrators,” said State Public Administrator Randi M. Merchant. “I am confident that each of these appointees will effectively and efficiently fulfill their duties when acting as a fiduciary in this position of trust in their respective counties.” 

County public administrators have powers and duties primarily related to intestate decedent estates where there are apparently no known heirs, including managing the determination, collection, liquidation, and/or distribution of any assets in the estate. Attorneys that serve in this capacity often also have private practice responsibilities that are separate and unrelated to their appointment as county public administrator.


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