Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
For those who are not involved in the profession, the word "caretaker" may have numerous meanings. But for the growing number of people who are discovering the caretaking profession, a caretaker is a property caretaker: a person or persons who cares for a property in exchange for rent-free living accommodations, and with the possibility of additional compensation. The caretaking profession includes positions as housesitters, ranch sitters, Bed & Breakfast and Innsitters, property managers, Estate Managers, and hosts at resorts and campgrounds. A caretaker is generally distinguished from a “caregiver,” someone with health care skills who is employed to care for another person, often as a live-in aide. Caretaking is actually a very old profession, rooted in the British tradition of land maintenance. In 1868, The Times of London defined a caretaker as “a person put in charge of a farm from which the tenant has been evicted.” Today that definition has been expanded to cover a multitude of landowner/caretaker relationships. The number and diversity of these relationships has increased during the past decade. The caretaking profession continues to grow in popularity as more landowners discover the benefits of having a caretaker(s) on their property.
In politics, a caretaker government rules temporarily. A caretaker government is often set up following a war until stable democratic rule can be restored, in which case it is often referred to as a provisional government.
Caretaker governments may also be put in place when a government is a parliamentary system is defeated in a motion of no confidence, or in the case where the house the government is responsible to is dissolved, to rule the country for an interim period until an election is held and a new government is formed. This type of caretaker government is adopted in Bangladesh where an advisor council led by the former chief judge rules the country for 3 months before an elected government takes over. In systems where coalition governments are frequent a caretaker government may be installed temporarily while negotiations to form a new coaltion take place. This usually occurs either immediately after an election in which there is no clear victor or if one coalition government collapses and a new one must be negotiated.
In much the same light, individuals who fill seats in government temporarily without ambitions to continue to hold office on their own are often referred to as caretakers. This is particularly true with regard to U.S. Senators who are appointed to office by the governor of their state following a vacancy created by the death or resignation of a sitting senator. Sometime governors wish to run for the seat themselves in the next election but do not want to be accused of unfairness by appointing themselves in the interim, and sometimes they do not wish to be seen as taking sides within a group of party factions or prejudicing the outcome of a primary election by picking someone who is apt to become an active candidate for the position. At one time, widows were often selected as caretakers; this custom has declined somewhat as women have begun to seek elected office in their own right on a routine basis.
In a similar vein, Nelson Rockefeller was said to be a caretaker Vice President in that when nominated for the office by President Gerald Ford he made it apparent that he had no further presidential ambitions of his own (unlike many Vice Presidents) despite having run for the office three times in the past and that in fact he had no intention of even running for a full term in the vice presidential office (which in fact he did not; Ford's running mate in the 1976 presidential election was Senator Bob Dole).
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