Medical examiner decision might wait until 2011

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Ted Sullivan
Monday, November 8, 2010
— The Rock County Board likely will decide in early 2011 whether to switch from a coroner to a medical examiner after voters asked for the change in the Nov. 2 election.

"My reaction to the vote is it was an advisory referendum, and we as supervisors were advised quite clearly that the voters want to go to a medical examiner, and I support that," Chairman Russell Podzilni said.

Residents voted 25,441 to 19,775 to replace the elected coroner with a county-appointed medical examiner in January 2015.

"When you've been advised of something, you have to listen," Podzilni said. "I want to do that."

A board member will likely propose a resolution to make the change after the county budget is settled, Podzilni said. The budget is the board's priority right now.

"That's high on everybody's agenda. After that, I think some supervisor would bring a resolution forward to do what the voters have asked for," Podzilni said.

Residents can expect action in January or February on the coroner or medical examiner issue, he said.

Coroner Jenifer Keach was re-elected Nov. 2 to a four-year term. She will serve as coroner until January 2015.

Board members don't have to follow the referendum's outcome. They could decide to keep a coroner and have a coroner elected in 2014. Otherwise, board members would appoint a medical examiner before Keach's term ends.

The cost and size of the medical examiner's office or the requirements of a hired medical examiner have not been set.

Board members have been debating the coroner or medical examiner issue for years because of controversy in the coroner's office. They voted in 2005 to change the position from an elected coroner to an appointed medical examiner. In March 2009, the board changed its mind and voted to keep an elected coroner.

Last updated: 3:38 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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