space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Chenier Leads Marines At Home Invitational
* Area Teams Take Part in Early Season Invites
* Marines Sink in Fourth Quarter
* Three Teams Start Season with Non-Conference Wins
* Estimated Duck Pop. Down to 48.4 Million

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
08-24-2016Obituaries
Kenneth J. Birr

08-24-2016Obituaries
Carol F. Spice

08-24-2016Obituaries
Sandra Mattia

08-24-2016Obituaries
Cynthia Schroeder

08-24-2016Obituaries
Joel M. Walther 

08-24-2016Obituaries
William Todzy

08-24-2016Obituaries
Marian L. Ruatti

08-24-2016Obituaries
Carol J. Rhode

08-24-2016Obituaries
Susan R. Maus

08-24-2016Obituaries
Martha Erickson

08-24-2016Obituaries
Dorothy A. Dickerson

08-24-2016Obituaries
Clayton A. Carlson

08-24-2016Obituaries
June A. Stello

08-24-2016Obituaries
Kenneth D. Parthie

08-24-2016Obituaries
Dorothy Osten

08-24-2016Obituaries
Elizabeth J. Marineau

08-24-2016Obituaries
Diane S. Long

08-24-2016Obituaries
Charles D. De Camp

08-24-2016Obituaries
Donald Brunn

08-24-2016Obituaries
Peggy D. Bowden

08-24-2016Front Page
Town Pound Residents Approve Tax Hike for Bridge Project

08-24-2016Front Page
Buddy Bench Fosters Friendship at Schools

08-24-2016Community - Coleman
Klondike Days Wrestling, Kickball Tourney Benefit

08-24-2016Community - Coleman
CHS Classes Gather for Joint Reunion

08-24-2016Community - Coleman
Kuchtas To Host Beef Open House

08-24-2016Community - Crivitz
Crivitz School Fully Staffed For Sept. 1 Start Of Classes

08-24-2016Community - Crivitz
Twin Bridge Rescue Squad Buys New Ford Ambulance

08-24-2016Community - Crivitz
Open House at Crivitz Schools

08-24-2016Community - Crivitz
Crivitz School District Annual Meeting Aug. 30

08-24-2016Front Page
Peshtigo Joins Call For More State Road Aids

08-24-2016Community - Wausaukee
Auxiliary Unit 66 Chili Fest Sept. 24

08-24-2016Front Page
New $12 Million Marinette Rec Center Gets Approval

08-24-2016Perspectives
Country Cousin

08-24-2016Perspectives
From our readers

08-24-2016Perspectives
From My Window

08-24-2016Sports
Chenier Leads Marines At Home Invitational

08-24-2016Sports
Area Teams Take Part in Early Season Invites

08-24-2016Sports
Marines Sink in Fourth Quarter

08-24-2016Sports
Three Teams Start Season with Non-Conference Wins

08-17-2016Front Page
Name Marinette County Fair Horse Arena for Late Fay Bintz

08-17-2016Obituaries
Lorraine Zaidel

08-17-2016Obituaries
William C. Yudes

08-17-2016Obituaries
Irene Wojciehowski

08-17-2016Obituaries
Dean J. Westcott

08-17-2016Front Page
Town To Decide Pond Road Gate, Mercury Issues Aug. 23

08-17-2016Obituaries
Joel M. Walther

08-17-2016Front Page
Brief Filed In Crivitz School Cell Phone Suit

08-17-2016Front Page
Marinette Committees Discuss Wage Study

08-17-2016Front Page
Dettmering Does Not Get Public Defender

08-17-2016Obituaries
Franklin J. Trepanier

08-17-2016Obituaries
June A. Stello

08-17-2016Perspectives
Country Cousin - End of Summer

08-17-2016Obituaries
Leita A. Sinclair  

08-17-2016Obituaries
Michael L. Sherman

08-17-2016Obituaries
Elmer O. Salzsieder

08-17-2016Obituaries
Mitchell A. Otradovec

08-17-2016Obituaries
Dick Maloney

08-17-2016Obituaries
Larry J. Lischka

08-17-2016Perspectives
From My Window - Local Business - Thank You!

08-17-2016Obituaries
Raymond J. Lentz

08-17-2016Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-17-2016Obituaries
Kenneth A. Krause

08-17-2016Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-17-2016Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-17-2016Obituaries
James Koester

08-17-2016Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-17-2016Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-17-2016Obituaries
Hildred Johnson

08-17-2016Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-17-2016Obituaries
John J. Hummel

08-17-2016Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-17-2016Obituaries
John Hanson

08-17-2016Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-17-2016Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-17-2016Obituaries
Ardene H. Ganter

08-17-2016Obituaries
Anthony Charapata

08-17-2016Sports
Estimated Duck Pop. Down to 48.4 Million

08-17-2016Obituaries
Violet E. Buss

08-17-2016Sports
2016 WIAA Sports Medical Advisory Commitee Update

08-17-2016Obituaries
Nathaniel T. Borah

08-17-2016Sports
Marinette Ready to Be The Team Everyone Hates to Play

08-17-2016Obituaries
Faith J. Berg

08-17-2016Sports
Area Football Teams Prepare for Season Openers

08-17-2016Community - Coleman
Story Time at Library Sept. 12

08-17-2016Community - Coleman
Coleman Elementary Ribbon Cutting for New Playground

08-17-2016Community - Coleman
Coleman Regular Meeting Sept. 19

08-17-2016Community - Coleman
Change CCBA Meeting to Sept. 15

08-17-2016Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee School Packet Pick Up, Open House Aug. 24

08-17-2016Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Centennial Books Again Available

08-17-2016Community - Wausaukee
Request Traffic Change in Town During County Fair

08-17-2016Community - Wausaukee
Lions Raffle Tickets Sold

08-17-2016Community - Crivitz
Weekly Bible School at Crivitz

08-17-2016Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Village Hires New Police Officers

08-17-2016Community - Crivitz
Crivitz VFW Pig Roast is Sept. 11

08-17-2016Community - Crivitz
Crivitz School District Annual Meeting Aug. 30

08-10-2016Community - Coleman
Open House at Suring Aug. 31

08-10-2016Community - Coleman
Lena Residents Scan Tickets

08-10-2016Community - Coleman
Cougar Booster Club Benefit Banquet Aug. 15

08-10-2016Community - Coleman
Coleman Youth Football Signup Aug. 15, Practice Starts Aug. 16

08-10-2016Perspectives
From our readers

08-10-2016Community - Wausaukee
Area ATV Trails, Benefit Golf Outings

08-10-2016Community - Wausaukee
Big Silver Cliff Fire, Rescue Parade, Picnic Set for Aug. 13

08-10-2016Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Am. Legion Family Picnic is Aug. 13

08-10-2016Obituaries
Lloyd Rakowski

08-10-2016Community - Wausaukee
Stephenson Board Airs Public Works Position

08-10-2016Obituaries
Jim A. McInness

08-10-2016Obituaries
Alex R. Malawka 

08-10-2016Obituaries
Melvin Luetkens, Sr.

08-10-2016Obituaries
Michael B. Lipovac

08-10-2016Community - Crivitz
Art in Shaffer Park Aug. 13

08-10-2016Obituaries
Kim P. Kuran

08-10-2016Obituaries
William Kiepert  

08-10-2016Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Blood Drive Aug. 22

08-10-2016Obituaries
James Ferfecki

08-10-2016Community - Crivitz
Town Stephenson Taxpayers Say Only Maintain Airport

08-10-2016Obituaries
Gloria G. DeGrand

08-10-2016Obituaries
Susan J. Cross

08-10-2016Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Board Okays New Graduation Rules

08-10-2016Obituaries
Francis Courchaine

08-10-2016Obituaries
Duane H. Beffa

08-10-2016Obituaries
Herbert Becker

08-10-2016Obituaries
Nancy M. Wittkopf

08-10-2016Front Page
NEW CHIEF

08-10-2016Obituaries
Margaret D. Truckey

08-10-2016Obituaries
Sarah E. Strommen

08-10-2016Obituaries
Joan Schlutter

08-10-2016Obituaries
Lois Johnson

08-10-2016Front Page
$1 Million Cash Bond Set In Murder-For-Hire Case

08-10-2016Obituaries
John Huebner, Sr.

08-10-2016Obituaries
Lou Ann Greenwood

08-10-2016Obituaries
Lloyd R. Gannegan

08-10-2016Front Page
Body Cameras for Officers Not a Priority, Says Sheriff

08-10-2016Obituaries
Roy Fritz

08-10-2016Front Page
Parks Administrator Hopes to Eliminate Day-Use Fees in ൚

08-10-2016Obituaries
David A. Bradford

08-10-2016Perspectives
Country Cousin

08-10-2016Front Page
New Shoreland Zoning Rules Heading For County Approval

08-10-2016Perspectives
From My Window

08-10-2016Sports
Coleman Looks To Build On Their Success

08-10-2016Sports
Storm Derails Railroaders to Advance to Championship

08-10-2016Sports
Redbirds Avenge Last Year's Playoff Defeat

08-10-2016Sports
Marinette Captures Wishigan League Crown

08-03-2016Front Page
Night Out

08-03-2016Front Page
Pound Okays Plans For First Building In Its Business Park

08-03-2016Front Page
Peshtigo Mayor Yet to Accept Walkway Grant

08-03-2016Front Page
Inmates Earn GEDs, High School Diplomas

08-03-2016Front Page
No Objections At County Shoreland Zoning Hearings

08-03-2016Obituaries
Ellen M. Hesselink

08-03-2016Obituaries
Kenneth E. Gille

08-03-2016Obituaries
Shirley A. Boye


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Do you think a photo ID should be required to vote?
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
© 2000-2016
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites