Board votes to replace coroner position with appointed medical examiner

by Abby Lynn Harvey of The Review staff

SHEBOYGAN- In was what anticipated to be a highly contested measure, the Sheboygan County Board of Supervisors voted to abolish the position of coroner and replace it with a board-appointed medical examiner position.

The discussion focused the change from having an elected position to an appointment position

“Changing from a system where people elect someone should be looked at long and if the people feel that’s correct then it should change,” said Supervisor Jim Baumgart. “I did encourage at times a greater outreach and discussion.”

His statement that the process had been fast-tracked and hadn’t been subject to the kind of public outreach he believed necessary was met with mild debate.

“If we try to make this change on April 16,” Supervisor George Marthenze responded, explaining that the resolution must be enacted before April 14 or “the medical examiner could not be hired before 2019. It’s a four-year term, you cannot change from an elected coroner to an employee during the term of an elected official so we would have a four-year time period to look at it. That’s a little too much, I think.”

It was stated that there had been an outreach to the community, but with very little response.

It was also stated that the board has no supervisory power over an elected coroner, but would have power to supervise an appointed medical examiner.

“I’m going to be voting against this, but not because a medical examiner wouldn’t be a good move, or coroner would not be a good move, because I think both are (good) if we have qualified people,” said Baumgart. “I think we missed an opportunity this year.”

The measure passed with Baumgart voting the only no.

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