Washington County Manager Josh Schoemann has yet to make up his mind if he will hire a medical examiner or contract with a neighboring county to provide that service.
Both options remain on the table, Schoemann told the County Board’s Public Safety Committee on Monday. The county manager said he has broached the subject of contracting medical examiner services with other counties.
The third candidate sent in a résumé recently after county had stopped advertising the job was still available, Schoemann said. He said he remains hopeful to be able to fill the post this month or early March.
Since October, Chief Deputy Medical Examiner Craig Garbisch has managed the office aided by oncall deputy medical examiners. Schoemann said Garbisch has done a good job maintaining the office. “I’m pretty comfortable with the direction we’re heading.”
In December, before Schoemann stepped into his role, a committee reviewed 20 applicants for the job and recommended eight for preliminary interviews.
Four then were interviewed by Schoemann and committee Chairman Joseph Gonnering, which resulted in the two finalists. Gonnering is a county supervisor from the town of Trenton.
Washington County Medical Examiner Robert Posont left the job Oct. 24 — 22 months after being hired — because of disagreement on how involved his office needed to be in death investigations.
By state law, a medical examiner is required to determine the cause and manner of death involving unusual circumstances, homicides, suicides, accidents, abortion, when no doctor attended or refused to sign a death certificate and sudden infant death syndrome.
The committee also agreed with Garbisch’s recommendation to rescind a department requirement Posont instituted in May that required all deaths in the county had to be reported to the Medical Examiner office.
“If it’s a simple, natural death, no matter where it occurs, the doctor signs off on it and that’s it,” Gonnering said. “That should bring down our caseload.”
All deaths involving injuries still must be reported to the Medical Examiner Office, Garbisch said.
The starting salary range for the county’s medical examiner is $60,195 to $63,627.