space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Peshtigo Boys Win Home Invite; Marinette Girls Finish Second
* Wausaukee Wins M&O Golf 9-Hole Meet
* Barbarians Fall to Orions
* Crivitz Topples Peshtigo; Cougars Take M&O Lead
* Panther Boys Win Final Oconto Falls Invitational Held At Memorial Field

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

By 23-6 Vote Supervisors Retain Coroner Position

Deaths in Marinette County will continue to be investigated by an elected County Coroner rather than an appointed medical examiner for at least the next four years. That decision came near the end of a long and contentious County Board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28, when a motion to replace Marinette County’s elected county coroner position with an appointed medical examiner was defeated by a decisive 23 to six vote margin.

Supervisors voting in favor of the medical examiner were County Board Vice Chair Kathy Just, County Board Chair Vilas Schroeder, Melissa Christiansen, Gilbert Engel, Ken Keller, and Cheryl Wruk. Joe Banaszak was absent.

Supervisors who favored staying with the elected coroner were C. J. Barrette, Russ Bauer, Alice Baumgarten, Mike Behnke, Russ Bousley, Ken Casper, Mike Cassidy, Paul Gustafson, Robert Holley, Shirley Kaufman, Nick Lakari, Tom Mailand, Al Mans, Ken Mattison, Larry Nichols, Don Pazynski, Joe Policello, Al Sauld, Ted Sauve, Connie Seefeldt, Mel Sharpe, Bill Walker and Clancy Whiting.

Had the resolution passed, effective Jan. 1, 2015, the Marinette County Coroner’s position would have been filled by a Medical Examiner selected by County Administrator Ellen Sorensen and confirmed by the County Board.

Purpose of the coroner, as explained on the Marinette County website, “is to investigate all deaths which are considered suicidal, accidental, homicidal, unexplained, unusual, suspicious, sudden, deaths where a physician is not available or will not sign a death certificate, and in deaths where cremation is to be the final disposition of the corpse. Disinterment of a corpse for any reason also is a responsibility of the Coroner’s office. All death certificates issued in Marinette County are screened by the Coroner for compliance with final disposition and proper execution of the death certificate.”

Major arguments in favor of keeping the coroner’s position elected centered on retaining the rights of voters and insuring that the coroner is a county resident.

The current four year term of long-time Coroner George Smith ends in January of 2015. Candidates for the next term, to be filled at the November elections this fall, can begin circulating nomination papers on April 15, and a decision was needed before that date. Smith has indicated he will probably seek another term. Smith is in his 28th year as coroner and before that had served 11 years as a deputy coroner.

Smith did not speak at the board meeting, but had previously stated the coroner should remain an elected position. “I don’t think the coroner should answer to the county administrator,” he declared. “The coroner should remain an independent elected office answerable only to the voters. He said the coroner’s office is the only elected position in the state that a County Board can eliminate by a simple majority vote.

He also pointed out that elected coroners do exactly the same thing medical examiners do.

There is currently no law in Wisconsin requiring that coroners or medical examiners have any particular medical training, and most do not. Of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, none have coroners who are physicians. Over half the counties - 37 - have exactly the system Marinette County has - elected coroners who are not required to be certified by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI). Another six have medical examiners who also are not required to be certified. Smith explained that he does attend training seminars and said he and other coroners and medical examiners require themselves and their staff members to get education and certification, but it is not universal.

The resolution attempting to terminate the elected coroner post in favor of an appointed medical examiner had come in for long discussion at an Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, Jan. 16 and eventually was forwarded to the full board without a recommendation for or against. Discussion was that the County Board as a whole should decide before the deadline for circulating nomination papers arrived.

For that meeting, County Administrator Ellen Sorensen had prepared comparisons of the existing coroner’s budget and prospective costs under a medical examiner system, along with a brief list of pros and cons for each system. Her estimates that cost of the two systems would be essentially the same were questioned by Smith, who predicted they would be substantially higher. Smith had prepared a list of pros and cons for the June 13 Executive Committee meeting when the possibility of switching to an appointed Medical Examiner was considered and rejected, and Sorensen had prepared another list for the January meeting.

Current annual salary of the part-time coroner is $30,504 plus fringe benefits for a part time position. That may or may not be adjusted next month when County Board sets salaries for elected positions to be filled at the November elections. Total budget for the Coroner’s office is $112,439. Besides salaries this includes $26,250 for physician’s fees, $12,000 for hospital expenses and $10,000 for travel expenses.

At Tuesday’s County Board meeting Just made the motion to switch from coroner to medical examiner, and received a second from Keller. “I think it’s important we have this discussion and get it settled,” she declared, adding that the decision should be based on the position, not the person who holds the position.

Just said switching to the appointed medical examiner would give County Board the opportunity to standardize some requirements, regionalize the office, and reduce county liability.

“The coroner has at his fingertips the state pathology lab, state medical labs and investigators, and state sponsored seminars,” declared Supervisor Mattison, adding there are more training sessions and services now than there were during the 14 years he served as coroner. He was strongly in favor of retaining the elected office of coroner.

“This has been kicked around for at least eight years,” declared Keller, who chairs the Law Enforcement Committee. He had some handouts including one which explained a proposed law that he predicted will by 2018 require coroners and deputy coroners in Wisconsin to be licensed. He noted Oconto County has a Medical Examiner now, and suggested that if all counties had medical examiners they could cross county to hire and assign deputies, which he felt would save money, particularly on murder investigations, and give better response times. He pointed out Wisconsin is one of only five states that requires no medical training for coroners or medical examiners, and felt the medical examiner would be a step forward.

Sauve declared himself in favor of keeping the elected coroner’s position, first because the coroner is a county resident, with records kept in the courthouse, secondly because the salary can be determined by the County Board.

“I haven’t heard about any problems with the current coroner,” Sauve declared, adding, “Our judges are highly complimentary to the work of our coroner.” He did not favor the idea of regionalization, and felt the time involved in getting someone from another county could hamper investigations and pose hardships for families involved when a death is investigated.

Casper also argued in favor of staying with the coroner and retaining the right of voters to choose. “If the Medical Examiner did not work out, it would be awfully hard to restore the elected position,” Casper declared.

Baumgarten wanted to know why the proposal had surfaced again. She said it had been voted down when it came to the Executive Committee in June of 2013, “and here it is again. It keeps coming back! Apparently it will keep coming back until we vote to go that way!”

Pazynski asked how the medical examiner is chosen. Sorensen started to explain it depends on how the post is organized, but Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison said under state statutes the Medical Examiner is appointed by the County Administrator, with confirmation by the County Board.

“Don’t take another right from the voters,” declared Holley. “We’re a Republic, and we elect our officials!”

Nichols said he had been contacted by a funeral director, who asked him to support keeping the elected position of coroner. He said much of a coroner’s responsibilities involve providing information and support for families.

Cassidy, who represents the Goodman area, said he had more contacts on the coroner issue than any other since he was seated on County Board. He said most of the voters in his district do not know George Smith personally, “but they want it kept an elected office.”

Gustafson too felt the county should not do away with an elected position.

Behnke declared some of the information Keller had distributed in favor of the medical examiner position was controversial and some was untrue, “it was a handout from a licensed lobbyist!” He said some of the information was biased and distorted.

Schroeder attempted to cut off Behnke’s comments, saying they did not apply to the issue at hand. Behnke moved to postpone indefinitely the vote on the coroner’s position.

Mattison said a motion to postpone is never supposed to be used to cut off discussion on something people want to vote on. She and Schroeder prevented the motion from being considered.

Mans moved to cut off discussion. Motion was read, and it was explained a “yes” would mean they would go with a medical examiner, and a “no” would defeat it. Without further discussion the proposal then went down to defeat by the 23 to six vote margin.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
05-14-2015Sports
Peshtigo Boys Win Home Invite; Marinette Girls Finish Second

05-14-2015Sports
Wausaukee Wins M&O Golf 9-Hole Meet

05-14-2015Sports
Barbarians Fall to Orions

05-14-2015Sports
Crivitz Topples Peshtigo; Cougars Take M&O Lead

05-14-2015Obituaries
Thomas E. Zeratsky

05-14-2015Obituaries
Donald H. Woller

05-14-2015Obituaries
Marie Werner

05-14-2015Obituaries
Janet D. Sundquist

05-14-2015Obituaries
Calvin L. Siegrist

05-14-2015Obituaries
Gordon A. Myers

05-14-2015Obituaries
Barbara L. Moss

05-14-2015Obituaries
Dwaine J. Mellen Sr.

05-14-2015Obituaries
Susan Daryl Lindberg

05-14-2015Obituaries
Ward E. Kimball, Jr.

05-14-2015Obituaries
Marvin R. Gusick

05-14-2015Obituaries
Charles M. Gibbons

05-14-2015Obituaries
Janice M. Everson

05-14-2015Obituaries
Lillian M. Chaltry

05-14-2015Obituaries
Phyllis Borie

05-14-2015Obituaries
Harold F. Amenson

05-14-2015Obituaries
June Zeugner

05-14-2015Obituaries
Nichole A. Skog

05-14-2015Obituaries
Robert G. Shaw

05-14-2015Obituaries
Dorothy C. Scheer

05-14-2015Obituaries
Vicki L. Miller

05-14-2015Obituaries
Michael R. McCormick

05-14-2015Obituaries
Evelyn M. Kanack

05-14-2015Obituaries
Mary Ann Hamilton

05-14-2015Obituaries
Eleanor R. Gorski

05-14-2015Obituaries
Kathleen A. Geltz

05-14-2015Obituaries
Maureen E. Frawley

05-14-2015Obituaries
Lois A. Doffek

05-14-2015Obituaries
Charles W. Carter

05-14-2015Obituaries
Maxine H. Bartels

05-14-2015Perspectives
Country Cousin

05-14-2015Perspectives
From our readers

05-14-2015Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

05-14-2015News
PHS 1985 Class Reunion is Aug. 15

05-14-2015News
Marinette Legion Brat Fry May 21, 22

05-14-2015News
Legion To Place Flags on Graves

05-14-2015News
Can Order Wagner Centennial Books

05-14-2015Community - Wausaukee
Legion Post 66 Lists Memorial Day Services

05-14-2015Community - Wausaukee
Silver Cliff Fire Auxiliary Gives Award

05-14-2015Community - Wausaukee
Legion Auxiliary Unit 66 Lists Memorial Services

05-14-2015Community - Crivitz
Crivitz School Lists Students of Month

05-14-2015Community - Crivitz
Middle Inlet Potluck Reunion Is May 21

05-14-2015Community - Crivitz
Red, White and Music Festival at Crivitz May 23

05-14-2015Community - Crivitz
Five Stephenson Board Committees Hold Meets

05-14-2015Community - Coleman
Rosner, Crandall Students of Month

05-14-2015Community - Coleman
T/Pound Acts On Road, Bridge, Gutter Projects

05-14-2015Community - Coleman
Coleman School Board To Elect Officers May 18

05-14-2015Community - Coleman
Village of Pound Picnic, Car Show June 26, 27

05-14-2015Front Page
Mursau Pays Tribute to Law Enforcement Officers

05-14-2015Front Page
Plan Another Look At Ski Cat Use Of Park

05-14-2015Front Page
County Seeks Proposals For Cures to Pool Woes

05-14-2015Front Page
Number of School Lunches Decline at Marinette School

05-14-2015Front Page
Set Three Hearings On Shoreland Zoning Regs

05-07-2015Sports
Panther Boys Win Final Oconto Falls Invitational Held At Memorial Field

05-07-2015Sports
Marine’s Alex Cording Ties State Record With 8 Goals In One Match

05-07-2015Sports
Marinette , STAA and Peshtigo Win Triangulars

05-07-2015Sports
Badgers Dig In To Hold Off Wolverines

05-07-2015Obituaries
John E. Szymusiak

05-07-2015Obituaries
Gale A. Starnes

05-07-2015Obituaries
Ryan W. Shevey

05-07-2015Obituaries
Wilbert Padgett

05-07-2015Obituaries
Helen B. Menor

05-07-2015Obituaries
Earl G. Lynch

05-07-2015Obituaries
Karen G. Koldos

05-07-2015Obituaries
Genevieve A. Johnson

05-07-2015Obituaries
Doc Allen Hill

05-07-2015Obituaries
John Fifrick

05-07-2015Obituaries
Richard J. Bruehl

05-07-2015Obituaries
Clarence T. Benser, Sr.

05-07-2015Obituaries
Loretta M. Behnke

05-07-2015Obituaries
Clare E. Wilber

05-07-2015Obituaries
Donald V. Weyenberg

05-07-2015Obituaries
Peter J. Tarenski

05-07-2015Obituaries
L. Jay Spaulding

05-07-2015Obituaries
Ann F. Shaver

05-07-2015Obituaries
James E. Schroeder

05-07-2015Obituaries
Betty J. Redlich

05-07-2015Obituaries
LaVerne J. Quick

05-07-2015Obituaries
Anthony V. Piencikowski

05-07-2015Obituaries
Daniel R. Osterberg

05-07-2015Obituaries
Barbara Nowicki

05-07-2015Obituaries
Dr. Alice M. Lee

05-07-2015Obituaries
Gladys L. Kofler

05-07-2015Obituaries
Carol J. Hubert

05-07-2015Obituaries
Bobbie Frank

05-07-2015Obituaries
Dorothy A. Beyer

05-07-2015Perspectives
Country Cousin

05-07-2015Perspectives
From our readers

05-07-2015Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

05-07-2015News
Co. Sheriff Auxiliary Seeks New Members

05-07-2015Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Town Board May 12

05-07-2015Community - Wausaukee
Legion Post To Place Flags

05-07-2015Community - Wausaukee
SC Fire Auxiliary To Plan Picnic

05-07-2015Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Greenhouse Fourth Annual Plant Sale

05-07-2015Community - Crivitz
Twin Bridge Rescue Rummage Sale

05-07-2015Community - Crivitz
12 at Even Monday Cards

05-07-2015Community - Crivitz
DeSmidt’s Give 3 Free Jr. Memberships

05-07-2015Community - Crivitz
Learn CPR, Save a Life in 20 Minutes

05-07-2015Community - Coleman
Coleman Utility Meeting May 11

05-07-2015Community - Coleman
Band Earns 1st in Music

05-07-2015Community - Coleman
Coming Events at Coleman Library

05-07-2015Community - Coleman
Legion Auxiliary Rummage Sale

05-07-2015
Northland University at Pembine To Close After Graduation May 9th

05-07-2015Front Page
Evergreen Tool To Build New Factory In Peshtigo

05-07-2015Front Page
Highway Commitee Hears Problems On Cty. P Bridge

05-07-2015Front Page
Re-Elected Board President Dama Names Committees

05-07-2015Front Page
Marinette Council Votes For City Employees Restain Shed

04-29-2015Sports
WIAA Rejects Changing Division Placement, OK Summer Basektball, Hockey, Volleyball

04-29-2015Sports
Bulldog Golfers Run Away with M&O Conference Meet

04-29-2015Sports
M&O SOFTBALL - Peshtigo Enjoys Two Game Lead In Conference

04-29-2015Sports
Peshtigo Stands Alone On Top Of M&O

04-29-2015Perspectives
Country Cousin

04-29-2015Perspectives
From our readers

04-29-2015Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

04-29-2015Obituaries
Joan R. Wauters

04-29-2015Obituaries
James E. Thiel

04-29-2015Obituaries
Delores T. Smith

04-29-2015Obituaries
George L. Severson

04-29-2015Obituaries
Herman Schraub

04-29-2015Obituaries
Florence J. Neumann

04-29-2015Obituaries
Andreas Michels

04-29-2015Obituaries
Judith D. Michalski

04-29-2015Obituaries
Doris L. Lunde

04-29-2015Obituaries
Talise A. Lindstrom

04-29-2015Obituaries
Ellen M. Haut

04-29-2015Obituaries
Gerald “Jerry” Enders

04-29-2015Obituaries
Rev. Fr. Michael J. Clifford

04-29-2015Obituaries
Roberta S. Chagnon

04-29-2015Obituaries
Terri Jo Bischof

04-29-2015Obituaries
Marjorie M. Wentworth

04-29-2015Obituaries
Perry S. Slack

04-29-2015Obituaries
Vincent G. Pickard

04-29-2015Obituaries
Randy Peterson

04-29-2015Obituaries
Angeline Kalisky

04-29-2015Obituaries
Anastasia “Stella” Hendricks

04-29-2015Obituaries
Delores R. Hassenfeldt

04-29-2015Obituaries
Robert A. Hansen

04-29-2015Obituaries
Steven Gus Gilman

04-29-2015Obituaries
Constance Castonia

04-29-2015Obituaries
Adam P. Bird

04-29-2015Obituaries
Jerome R. Anderson

04-29-2015Community - Wausaukee
Legion 66 Meeting, Memorial Services

04-29-2015Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Electors Question Recycling, Dump Speeding

04-29-2015Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Board Approves 2 Loans For Fire Truck

04-29-2015Community - Wausaukee
Distribute Poppy During May

04-29-2015Community - Crivitz
Board Allows Little League To Name Field


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Should the State of Wisconsin increase the speed limit to 70 mph on some highways?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2015
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites