The office of Cleveland County Coroner has been in existence since 1841, unlike other elected offices, that office over all these years is without any blemish of corruption, malfeasance or scandal. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If the Commissioners had any sense, that statement should be the end of this article. But, they don’t and it ain’t.
If you go back to my article published March 13, 2017 you will see all the details regarding the foolishness of this as it started out.
Well, my article apparently embarrassed the Commissioners as they were caught in the act with their back room dirty dealing and before the deed was fully done. Commissioner Chairman Eddie Holbrook commented to me that he had not been in the back room meeting when the abolishment of the Office of Coroner was discussed. My comment back was that this kind of stuff, by law, had to be done in open session. Commissioner Holbrook said they would stop the process of abolishing the Office of Coroner. Read on for what they did next. It was totally within the letter of the law, but it was also a total lie. Lots of that lately with the County Commissioners, as well as the Community College and the schools.
The first thing they did was to delay putting out the agenda for the Commissioner’s meeting on April 18, 2017 so nobody will have advance notice of what the Commissioners are up to. This is becoming a regular happening with this crowd of Commissioners. If they can’t get by with doing their dirty business behind closed doors, they do it in a regular session without anybody knowing what they are about to do. In this case, they also gave ZERO advance notice to the Coroner, Robbie Morgan that they are about to abolish the Office of Coroner.
Next, at the meeting that started at 6:00 PM, there is an item on the Agenda that simply says “Coroner/M.E Medical System.” County Manager Jeff Richardson was listed as the presenter.
Jeff Richardson has this slick little PowerPoint presentation that shows that most of the hundred counties in North Carolina had changed over to a Medical Examiner system run out of Raleigh and had done away with the Office of Coroner. That was the “trend” according to Richardson. “Trend” was a word used a lot in Richardson’s presentation. Not one word in the presentation mentioned any tangible benefit to doing away with the Office of Coroner for Cleveland County. Although there was some talk about the Hospital, Law Enforcement, Funeral Homes, etc. needing to have input into the transition from Coroner to a Medical Examiner system run out of Raleigh, there was ZERO information that any of them had been contacted for their opinion before this meeting. Richardson also failed to mention that although many counties were “trending” to do away with the DSS Board and have the Commissioners serve that purpose because of all the problems at DSS, the Cleveland County Commissioners had not done that.