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Medical examiner resolution moves forward

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
January 18, 2011
— The pieces are falling into place for Rock County to convert its elected coroner to a hired medical examiner.

The county board's public safety and justice committee voted 4-0 Monday to recommend the switch.


Committee members thought they should go along with the voters, who said, "yes," to a medical examiner in an advisory referendum in November, committee Chairman Ivan Collins said.


The recently re-elected coroner, meanwhile, said she doesn't expect to seek the position once her term ends in 2014.


Coroner Jenifer Keach endorsed the medical-examiner idea but said she would not apply for the job.


"I plan to be moving on to better things," Keach said. "That'll be my own business at that time. I'll be glad to be out of the public spotlight."


Keach said her position has been that a coroner can do just as good a job as a medical examiner, but now that voters have spoken, they should be heeded.


Keach recommends Rock County join Dane County to jointly provide medical-examiner services. Dane County's medical examiner is a forensic pathologist, Keach said after the meeting, so it would be a matter of purchasing those services from the bigger county to the north.


"Rock County could choose to retain the experienced and professional death-investigation team we already have while protecting Rock County jobs and save tax-dollars by eliminating the costs of a new medical examiner position to replace the coroner position," Keach said in a news release.


Keach said three other such multi-county consortiums already exist in Wisconsin.


County Board Chairman Russ Podzilni said the issue probably would be on the agenda for the full county board when it meets Thursday, Jan. 27.


Podzilni said a medical examiner shouldn't cost any more than the county now spends on the coroner's office.



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