Coroner change resolution tabled

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August 19, 2008
— Members of a Rock County Board committee are talking about reversing a 2006 decision to change the office of coroner to medical examiner in 2011.

But for now, the issue has been indefinitely tabled, said Ivan Collins, chairman of the public safety and justice committee.

The county board decided in August 2006 to end the partisan, elected office of coroner but that happened only after the issue was tabled for 18 months at the public safety and justice committee. Former supervisor Adam Peer introduced the resolution after the late, former Coroner Karen Gilbertson was arrested in early 2005 for stealing prescription drugs from death scenes.

Gilbertson resigned in April 2005 after pleading guilty to misconduct in public office.

Peer argued that the county could better control and oversee a medical examiner’s office.

Gilbertson died while serving her sentence.

Jenifer Keach is the current coroner. She was appointed by Gov. Jim Doyle to replace Terry Maybee, who was appointed by Doyle to replace Gilberston but quit after eight days.

Keach was elected to her first term in 2006.

The public safety and justice committee Monday night tabled a resolution that would reverse the 2006 decision to change to a medical examiner because county staff has more pressing, time-sensitive things to be working on right now, Collins said. Staff need time to gather information about the coroner/medical examiner debate for board members who weren’t on the board during the last vote, he said.

“I don’t foresee it probably getting back on an agenda until at least September,” Collins said.

Supervisor and public safety committee member Hank Brill is in favor of a coroner rather than medical examiner, he said.

“Because of the last coroner, it looked pretty dim and dismal,” Brill said. “We needed to do something. (Keach) is doing an excellent job. She’s surpassed our expectations.”

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