OKANOGAN A new position – Okanogan County coroner — will be on the fall ballot.
The position’s creation was triggered when the county’s population topped 40,000 in the last federal census, Okanogan County Elections Administrator Mila Jury said.
State law requires a separate coroner position in counties with more than 40,000 residents.
The change takes those duties away from the prosecuting attorney. The new coroner would take over in January 2015.
Sloan said the position has jurisdiction over unattended deaths in the county.
“That position entails going to death scenes and working closely with law enforcement, particularly when the death has resulted from unnatural causes or where there are other suspicious circumstances,” Sloan said. “The coroner has the authority and duty to order autopsies when necessary, and in doing so works with the local funeral homes and forensic pathologists to facilitate that.”
The coroner also certifies the cause of death or works with medical providers to establish and certify the cause of death. The office holder also authorizes cremation and approves indigent cremation expenditures in cases where there are no next of kin and/or no resources available for disposition of the body, he said.
Sloan said he has appointed several deputy coroners, typically deputy prosecutors but also two volunteers – Jerry Tretwold of Brewster and Larry Higbee of Winthrop.
The existing coroner budget will be transferred from Sloan’s office to the new office, but would need to be adjusted to include the new position’s salary.
“Once an elected coroner has taken office, our deputies and I will continue to remain on call for law enforcement questions and legal issues involving homicides and deaths that have criminal issues involved,” Sloan said. “I don’t think our deputy prosecutors will necessarily miss having to come in for their regular jobs after having been out on late night/early morning coroner calls, but I think everyone did so readily, knowing the significance of that responsibility.”
He said he found the job of coroner very interesting. Not only does the person do investigative and evidence-gathering work and deal with medical, law enforcement and lab personnel, he or she also works with surviving family members “who are often dealing with significant trauma and grief.”
Time frames involved also are often fairly narrow, he said.
The coroner post joins a variety of local, state and federal offices that will be up for election this fall, with filing week set for May 12-16.
Candidates can file in person with his or her home county’s auditor’s office, may mail or online. Candidates for state and federal offices must file with the state.
Positions up for election, with incumbents and filing fees listed, include:
Congressional District No. 4 - Doc Hastings, $1,740.
Congressional District No. 5 - Cathy McMorris Rodgers, $1,740.
Legislative District No. 7, senator - Brian Dansel, $421.06.
Legislative District No. 7, representative position No. 1 - Shelly Short, $421.06.
Legislative District No. 7, representative position No. 2 - Joel Kretz, $421.06.
Legislative District No. 12, representative position No. 1 - Cary Condotta, $421.06.
Legislative District No. 12, representative position No. 2 - Brad Hawkins, $421.06.
Ferry County assessor - Rachel D. Siracuse, $397.50.
Ferry County auditor - Dianna L. Galvan, $397.50.
Ferry County clerk - Jean Bremner Booher, $397.50.
Ferry County commissioner position No. 2 - Brian Dansel, $397.50.
Ferry County sheriff - Pete Warner, $462.50.
Ferry County treasurer - Kathleen Rupp, $397.50.
Ferry County District Court judge - Tom Brown, $650.45.
Ferry County prosecuting attorney - Mike Sandona, $1,068.48.
Ferry County Public Utility District position No. 3 - Doug Aubertin, $120.
Okanogan County assessor - Scott D. Furman, $596.40.
Okanogan County auditor - Laurie Thomas, $596.40.
Okanogan County clerk - Charleen Groomes, $596.40.
Okanogan County commissioner District No. 3 - Jim DeTro, $596.40.
Okanogan County coroner - New position, no incumbent, $388.80.
Okanogan County prosecuting attorney - Karl F. Sloan, $1,227.
Okanogan County sheriff - Frank Rogers, $759.84.
Okanogan County treasurer - Leah F. McCormack, $596.40.
Okanogan County District Court judge position No. 1 - Heidi E. Smith, $1,156.35.
Okanogan County District Court judge position No. 2 - Charles D. Short, $1,156.35.
Okanogan County Public Utility District commissioner District No. 1 – David Womack, $274.20.
State Supreme Court position No. 1 - Jim Johnson, $1,675.05.
State Supreme Court position No. 3 - Mary Fairhurst, $1,675.05.
State Supreme Court position No. 4 - Charles W. Johnson, $1,675.05.
State Supreme Court position No. 7 - Debra L. Stephens, $1,675.05.
Court of Appeals Division III, district No. 1 - Kevin M. Korsmo, $1,594.55.