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updated: 2/13/2012 5:29 PM

Doc or cop: Which is best for Kane coroner?

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  • Bob Tiballi

    Bob Tiballi

  • Rob Russell

    Rob Russell


Which background is best suited for the job of coroner?

The two candidates seeking the GOP nod in the March 20 primary in Kane County have differing views.

Rob Russell, a sergeant with the DuPage County Sheriff's Department, says he's the right man for the job.

Bob Tiballi, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist, believes that as a doctor, he has the best qualifications.

Chuck West, the current coroner, is not seeking another term.

The winner in the March primary will advance to face Democrat Tao Martinez of North Aurora in November's general election. Martinez is the founder and president of Archangels BioRecovery Inc. The winner gets a four-year term.

"The coroner is basically an investigator," said Russell, a South Elgin resident.

Tiballi, an Elgin resident who ran unsuccessfully for the post in 2004, says a doctor is best suited to determine a cause of death, saying "You can't get a better mix" for the position than a practicing physician who has a passion for the office.

"I am obsessed with detail. That makes me a good doctor and it would make me a good coroner as well," he said.

If elected, neither Tiballi nor Russell would personally be performing autopsies. That task goes to a forensic pathologist.

But Tiballi says his background will help him find possible mistakes and avoid a misdiagnosis.

Russell said his background in law enforcement can help him build bridges on the county level.

"It all starts with the integrity of the person in the office," Russell said.

Their backgrounds are the biggest difference in the campaign so far.

Both candidates say they'd plan to conduct inquests -- where a jury of residents determines if a death was suicide, accidental, homicide or undetermined -- on rare occasions instead of monthly. Both candidates say it would be a cost-savings measure since, in many cases, the cause of death has a fairly obvious conclusion.

If elected, Russell plans to resign from the sheriff's department so he can be available at all hours. "I'm on the SWAT team now, so I know what a pager does," he said.

Tiballi also said he has hired two doctors to replace him and he will only be obligated to work about 10 hours a week doing administrative tasks at his practice.

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