Expect Medical Examiner To Be Named On Dec. 18 Issue Date: December 6, 2018
With the January 7 end of the elected Marinette County Coroner's position barely a month off, a person to fill the replacement position of Medical Examiner still has not been hired.
Marinette County's Public Services Committee, which holds administrative responsibilities for the coroner's office, was advised by County Administrator John LeFebvre at its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4 that background checks are being done for the six applicants he has selected for interviews, which will be done by him and Committee Chair Ken Keller this week and next. One could not make it for the interviews, so apparently five will be interviewed, and one of them will be offered for County Board approval on Tuesday, Dec. 18. There was no suggestion of an alternate plan should County Board choose not to approve the person selected.
At his request the committee scheduled a special meeting prior to the County Board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 18 for committee consideration of the person they select. He said if there is no committee quorum, the appointment will still be on the agenda for approval by the full County Board.
Prior to that action the committee approved LeFebvre's recommendation to re-title the Deputy Coroner positions to "Part-time Assistant Medical Examiner" positions, and set pay at step 1 of pay grade F, $20 per hour, with two hours minimum pay per call and $1 per hour for each on-call hour.
Supervisor Ginger Deschane, who works in hospice care, had several concerns. She said they are changing from contracted employees to hourly, and also felt if the medical examiner is out of town there must be a person designated as Chief Deputy Medical Examiner to sign death certificates. She said regardless who was on call, Coroner George Smith always signed the death certificates unless he was out of town. LeFebvre promised to look into it, and if they need to designate two Deputy Medical Examiners and one Chief Deputy Medical Examiner they will do that. He expects the same three people currently serving as deputy coroners to stay on as deputy medical examiners.
Deschane also was concerned over the proposed pay for the deputy medical examiners.
LeFebvre said they currently get $50 per call, and if that call lasts over six hours they get $7.75 per hour. Also, they currently get no pay for being on call. He said he set up the proposed $20 per hour pay grade, which would come to $40 for a two-hour call, to be roughly the same as their current pay, added the $1 per hour for on-call time, and put the job on the step schedule so they get raises when other county employees do. If they are on call for 24 hours and there is no call they still get paid $24 pay for that day.
Deschane said in all her years in hospice work she has seen only one call for the coroner that lasted less than two hours, and declared, "I guarantee it's going to last more than two hours!"
After some discussion the committee agreed that County Board should set the bond for the Medical Examiner at $10,000. County Clerk Kathy Brandt suggested the bond could be reduced to $5,000, since the medical examiner would not be handling fee payments, which Smith did.
LeFebvre pointed there is also risk involved, for an individual who is looking into pockets and entering homes where the owner is deceased.
Keller pointed out they need to get liability insurance for the Medical Examiner and for each of the deputies as well, and LeFebvre promised to look into it. He said currently only the major department heads are bonded. Their assistants are not. Several committee members felt the $10,000 bond is awfully low.
Supervisor Glenn Broderick asked if there had ever been a situation in Marinette County when someone collected on a bond.
Sheriff Jerry Sauve said there has not, "but it can happen. It has happened in other counties."
Vote in favor of obtaining the $10,000 bond was unanimous.
Deschane was concerned over the delay in selecting a person to fill the brand new medical examiner position. She said once selected the person has to be registered with the state, "and that can take a while, especially during the Christmas season."
Keller said LeFebvre had gone through quite a few applications before selecting the six individuals they planned to interview. Since one of those candidates dropped out, apparently they now will have five interviews before making their recommendation for the Dec. 18 County Board meeting.
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