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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
Office sought: Will Coroner
Family: Widowed, 2 children and 1 grandchild
Occupation: Funeral Director/ Embalmer
Education: BA in Public Speaking Blackburn College Carlinville, IL 1979 Worsham Mortuary College Wheeling IL 1997
Civic involvement: Life Member of Channahon United Methodist Church Current President Willard Grove Cemetery Association Retired Member of The Channahon Vol. Fire Dept. 26 years.
Elected offices held: Past trustee of the Channahon School Board 8 years Past Village of Channahon Trustee 12 years
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
Running the Coroners office with respect for the deceased and answers for the living. Getting it right the first time. Improving response times and quality of the investigations of the office.
Key Issue 2
Saving taxpayer dollars by implementing programs with programs of co-op buying supplies with other coroners offices that surround Will County. Cheaper to buy larger quanities and all counties would benefit. Eliminating high salaries of "connected" staff.
Key Issue 3
Training for the deputies. By allowing the deputies at least on major training a year. Than having them come back and teach the others what they learned. Continuing education is a key not only to the success of the office but will make the deputies more confident in thier ablities to investigate the deaths that occur in our county. Very little training is allowed under the current administration.
Does the office do much in the way of comforting crime victims? families? Please explain. If not, should that be a role of the coroner?s office?
It was my experience that the current office does very little in comforting the victims familes. The deputies try , but are under such pressure to get on to the next call it leaves little time to do this. I believe that as a Coroner, we are the ones on the front line of notification to families of crime victims. Yes we should provide some comfort to them. If not us who? The Coroners office is often the first one to tell the family what happened, we are the ones to stay in touch through out the process.We give autopsy results, handle the inquest, and ultimately sign the death certificate. By this interaction we have alot of contact with the families. How would they feel if we who should be the leaders in the death care industry have a cold heart? It will be my goal to put families first! Not only the families we serve but my deputies families as well. What I mean by this is in the case of a major disaster, I want my deputies to assure the safety of their familes than respond to the office. If they are responding to a disaster and worried about their familes safety how effective will they be? Families first will be a mission statement in my office. This I have learned from my expierence as a funeral director.
Does the coroner need to be a medical doctor? Why or why not? Please explain in detail.
No. The Coroner system we have has been around since Ben Franklin brought it from England. Look at the recent debacle Cook County had with the Medical Examiner who is a Doctor. Bodies stacked up. A Medical Examiminer is a doctor who is appointed at the whim of a County Board, a Coroner is a elected official that is chosen by the people. The Coroner hires a doctor of Pathology to conduct the autopsy and give the cause of death ( ie; coronary, suffocation, drowning, ect) it is the Coroner that chooses the manner of death Natural, Homicide, Accidental, Suicide, or Undetermined. This system, that by the way is in place in 95% of the US gives a greater chance of accuracy because you get 2 opinions versus just one set of eyes. It does take a Coroner who wishes to do the job to the best of their ability as any elected offical needs to do. Having a Dr. would only increase the cost to the taxpayer and all to often this Dr. becomes an administrator and not an active participant in investigation, Thus having to hire one or more Pathologist to do the autopsy.
Assess the coroner?s budget. Are staffing and facilities adequate now and for the next four years? Keeping in mind the need to toe the line on spending, what, if anything, needs to be improved?
I believe that there needs to be changes in staffing in the Office. It is top heavy in the secretarial staff. One of the secretaries is recieving a salary of over $80,000.00 a year. This is outrageous. They call her a office manager but she oversees 2 secretaries. I believe that we can do with fewer secretaries. The current amount of deputies is more than adequate, I would be looking at ways to cut the budget not increasing it. As far as facilities go I would add a cooler in the Sheriff's substation in the eastern part of the county to assist in shortening the respond times to that area, by having part time deputies in that area that are trained and not having them travel to the central mourge in Joliet, but having the full time deputies than pick up the deceased for autopsy. I would also not take a County provided vehical. This would save the county dollars by cutting maintance cost ect. I have a van that I can make removals in as I do in my current job. As I said before I would institute a Co-op buying program with other Coroners offices so we could get better prices on items we all use. Rubber gloves, body bags, clean white sheets, ect. You can get a better price by buying a thousand of these than by purchasing a hundred. Than have them shipped to a central location and each Coroner's office pick up thier order.
s the coroner?s office doing enough in terms of domestic violence outreach and suicide prevention? Please explain.
No! The Coroners office is doing nothing in ethier of these of these areas. It is my plan to create several programs that can be taken to schools and other groups that will educate and comunicate how these types of situations can be prevented. It is not enought that we react after the violence has occured we need to be pro-active. I am also working on a program for elementary children on Bullying. We can get this message out. Although we may not prevent every death we can teach people especially with domestic violence to reconize the warning signs and get out of the situation. It seems that people listen to the Coroner when he addresses these topics, when they over look others who may speak on the topic.
With the coroner?s office being a statutory office with some autonomy from the county board, are you comfortable with the way budgeting is handled? Please explain.
The way that the budgeting is handled is very comfortable for me. It is also my plan that I will attend the County Board meetings and give a report of what the Coroner office is doing. Currently the Coroner does not attend nor is a report ever given to the County Board. I will also update the statistics of the Coroners office monthly and not wait 6 or 8 months into the new year to release the previous years Coroners report. The current repot on the website is 2010.