space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* WIAA Crowns Four State Spring Baseball Champions
* Multiple Marines Awarded Spring Post-Season Honors
* Bulldogs Picked for Packerland Honors In Three Spring Sports
* Little River Hosts Fathers Day Scramble
* Marinette/Menominee Open Summer Seasons with Wins

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

Issue Date: January 29, 2014

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
06-22-2018Sports
WIAA Crowns Four State Spring Baseball Champions

06-22-2018
Peshtigo High School softball team members, Madi Martin and Shae Tonn were chosen to play in the Division 2/3 game held on June 12

06-21-2018Front Page
Marinette County Breakfast on the Farm is June 24th

06-21-2018Front Page
Kass Resigns County Finance Director Post

06-21-2018Front Page
Peshtigo Police Chief Resigns, Moving Back To Michigan

06-21-2018Front Page
Infrastructure Committee Wants To Move Back To Peshtigo Shop

06-21-2018Front Page
Kiosk At Riverside Cemetery To Help Identify Grave Sites

06-21-2018Community - Coleman
CHS 1943-65 Class Reunion is July 15th

06-21-2018Community - Coleman
Car Show Vendor Deadline June 25

06-21-2018Community - Coleman
Library To Host Ice Cream Social

06-21-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Youth Basketball Camp

06-21-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz VFW Post 2063 Meets

06-21-2018Community - Crivitz
Ice Cream Social at Crivitz June 28

06-21-2018Community - Crivitz
Camp Bird Event is June 20-22

06-21-2018Community - Crivitz
M&M Area Foundation Helps Fund School Supplies

06-21-2018Community - Wausaukee
Jose Honored as Legionnaire of Year

06-21-2018Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane/Silver Cliff Legion Post 66 To Meet June 23

06-21-2018Community - Wausaukee
Harvest Dinner at Presbyterian Church

06-21-2018Community - Wausaukee
Blood Drive at Silver Cliff Rescue

06-21-2018Obituaries
Shirley J. Behnke

06-21-2018Obituaries
Eunice R. Borst

06-21-2018Obituaries
Betty M. Dettloff

06-21-2018Obituaries
June E. Diercks

06-21-2018Obituaries
Elizabeth L. Downs

06-21-2018Obituaries
Edith Franzen

06-21-2018Obituaries
Edna M. Garon

06-21-2018Obituaries
Mary Louise Gauld

06-21-2018Obituaries
Thomas A. Gilligan

06-21-2018Obituaries
Mary C. Gocht

06-21-2018Obituaries
Peggy Madden

06-21-2018Obituaries
Gerald F. Wescher

06-21-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

06-21-2018Perspectives
From My Window

06-21-2018Perspectives
From our Readers

06-21-2018Sports
Multiple Marines Awarded Spring Post-Season Honors

06-21-2018Sports
Bulldogs Picked for Packerland Honors In Three Spring Sports

06-21-2018
Martin/Tonn Play in WFSCA All Star Game

06-21-2018Sports
Little River Hosts Fathers Day Scramble

06-14-2018Front Page
Coleman Annexes Property For Cheese Factory Project

06-14-2018Front Page
Pound Fireman's Picnic, Car Show Both In June

06-14-2018Front Page
Environmental Groups Pledge To Continue Back Forty Fight

06-14-2018Front Page
PFAS Found At Tyco Stanton Street Facility

06-14-2018Front Page
Grover Residents Advised To Keep Fire Signs Visible

06-14-2018Community - Coleman
Renovation Tour On Coleman School Board June 18 Agenda

06-14-2018Community - Coleman
Village Pound Car Show is June 30th

06-14-2018Community - Coleman
Continue to Feature Cougar Walls of Fame

06-14-2018Community - Coleman
4th Annual Craft, Vendor Fair at Equity Park June 16

06-14-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Junior High Students Attain Honors

06-14-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Legion Run for Recovery

06-14-2018
Ice Cream Social at Crivitz June 28

06-14-2018Community - Crivitz
Monthly CPR Class at Crivitz Clinic

06-14-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Announces 4th Quarter Honor Roll

06-14-2018Community - Wausaukee
Alee Aragon Addresses Auxiliary

06-14-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Back to School Program Receives $3,000

06-14-2018Community - Wausaukee
WBA Sponsors Farmers Market

06-14-2018Sports
Marinette/Menominee Open Summer Seasons with Wins

06-14-2018
Area Golfers Receive GCAW Academic All State Honors

06-14-2018Sports
Five High Schools Claim WIAA State Softball Titles

06-14-2018Sports
Busy Season For Marinette Parks & Rec & Public Works

06-14-2018Perspectives
From My Window

06-14-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

06-14-2018Perspectives
From Our Readers

06-07-2018Sports
WIAA Softball State Tourney Starts June 7

06-07-2018Sports
Area Golfers Battle Through Tough State Course

06-07-2018Sports
Peshtigo's Rauch Captures D2 State Pole Vault Title

06-07-2018Sports
Coleman/Wausaukee Bow Out In Sectionals

06-07-2018Perspectives
From Our Readers

06-07-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

06-07-2018Perspectives
From My Window

06-07-2018Obituaries
Richard L. Dantinne

06-07-2018Obituaries
Mildred Donlevy 

06-07-2018Obituaries
Clara (Wasmund) Druckrey

06-07-2018Obituaries
John F. Egofske

06-07-2018Obituaries
Dixie K. Gard

06-07-2018Obituaries
Lila M. Hallada

06-07-2018Obituaries
Myron C. Klika

06-07-2018Obituaries
Donald D. Kroening

06-07-2018Obituaries
Kent W. Lantow

06-07-2018Obituaries
John W. Lesniak

06-07-2018Obituaries
Marsha A. Lindgren

06-07-2018Obituaries
Beth M. Mireau

06-07-2018Obituaries
Bonnie R. Berton-Neumeyer

06-07-2018Obituaries
Nancy J. Prange

06-07-2018Obituaries
Bruce E. Ranzinger

06-07-2018Obituaries
Ellen M. Raygo

06-07-2018Obituaries
Kathryn Schahczinski

06-07-2018Obituaries
Russell L. Schwartz

06-07-2018Obituaries
Kenneth J. VanDreel

06-07-2018Obituaries
John P. Wingers

06-07-2018Obituaries
Leonard F. Wirkus

06-07-2018Community - Wausaukee
Church Rummage Sale/Cook Out

06-07-2018Community - Wausaukee
SC Fire-Rescue to Plan Picnic

06-07-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Class of 1988 Reunion on Aug. 18

06-07-2018Community - Crivitz
Ice Cream Social at Crivitz June 28

06-07-2018Community - Crivitz
Meeting for Girl Scouts at Crivitz

06-07-2018Community - Crivitz
Woman's Club Pop-Up Sale

06-07-2018Community - Coleman
Village Pound Car Show is June 30th

06-07-2018Community - Coleman
Pound Fire Picnic Dates June 15-16

06-07-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Utility Board To Meet

06-07-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Schools List Summer Office Hours

06-07-2018Front Page
New Brazeau Building Honors Elizabeth Washebek

06-07-2018Front Page
Final Permit Issued For Back Forty Mine

06-07-2018Front Page
Peshtigo Council Approves 1% Hike In Water Rates

06-07-2018Front Page
Late Season Snow Blamed For City Recreation Issues

06-07-2018Front Page
Town Peshtigo Airs Road, Billing Issues

05-31-2018Perspectives
From My Window

05-31-2018Sports
Rangers/Badgers Face Off in Regional Final Today

05-31-2018Sports
Rangers Are Last Team Standing on Tournament Trail

05-31-2018Sports
Area Athletes Head To State Meet In LaCrosse

05-31-2018Sports
Peshtigo Takes Perfect Record To State

05-31-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

05-31-2018Obituaries
Earl J. Alsteen

05-31-2018Obituaries
Elizabeth L. Anglehart

05-31-2018Obituaries
James A. Benesh

05-31-2018Obituaries
Paul R. Berntson

05-31-2018Obituaries
Dale R. Borneman

05-31-2018Obituaries
Robert F. Brown, Jr.

05-31-2018Obituaries
Norman Buhrandt

05-31-2018Obituaries
Roberta C. Couillard

05-31-2018Obituaries
Richard Deschaine

05-31-2018Obituaries
Karen and Dennis Fry

05-31-2018Obituaries
Raymond A. Gorman

05-31-2018Obituaries
Glenn G. Harris

05-31-2018Obituaries
Charles W. Hatton 

05-31-2018Obituaries
Stella M. Horvath

05-31-2018Obituaries
Patricia A. Johnston

05-31-2018Obituaries
Sandra S. Kasik

05-31-2018Obituaries
Carol L. Klein

05-31-2018Obituaries
Arlie K. Manning

05-31-2018Obituaries
Patrice L. Messenger

05-31-2018Obituaries
Laurie Nicklaus

05-31-2018Obituaries
Helen M. Peterson

05-31-2018Obituaries
Rita Peterson

05-31-2018Obituaries
Jacqueline Rudolph

05-31-2018Obituaries
Gertrude Tetzlaff

05-31-2018Obituaries
William M. Thierling

05-31-2018Obituaries
Joy M. Van Hecke

05-31-2018Obituaries
Daniel D. VanHoff

05-31-2018Obituaries
Ramon G. Varrientos

05-31-2018Obituaries
Leonard J. Williams

05-31-2018Community - Wausaukee
Seven Red Cross Scholarship Winners

05-31-2018Community - Wausaukee
 Wausuakee Lions Big Cash Raffle

05-31-2018Community - Wausaukee
WBA Farmers Market New Location This Year

05-31-2018Community - Crivitz
Sports Awards Winners At Crivitz High School

05-31-2018
NE WI Kids Fishing Outing July 7 at Laona

05-31-2018Community - Crivitz
Lions Golf Scramble at Crivitz June 2nd

05-31-2018Community - Crivitz
De Smidt's Awards Four Scholarships

05-31-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Village Board June 4

05-31-2018Community - Coleman
4th Annual Craft, Vendor Fair at Equity Park June 16

05-31-2018Community - Coleman
Pound Fire Dept. Picnic July 15-16


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Do you think the Green Bay Packers will make it to the Super Bowl this year.
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
© 2000-2018
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites