A choice for coroner

The county coroner election should have everyone’s attention. For the first time since 1994, we have two candidates on the ballot. We have a choice to wrest control of this county job from the family and employees of a Salida funeral home who have controlled the office since 1982.

Four reasons to support Dave Slavish:

1. Our current coroner is a full-time funeral director and part-time coroner. Slavish will be a full-time coroner. Public service will be his first priority, and he will investigate every county death.

2. The coroner is in succession for sheriff after the undersheriff. Slavish served in the Illinois State Police and the Division of Criminal Investigation.

3. The county-owned coolers are located at the funeral home. (Conflict of interest?) If elected, Slavish has the support of the county commissioners to re-locate them.

4. Slavish will eliminate the chief deputy coroner position saving the county $20,000 and full-time benefits annually. Including benefits, that’s nearly a $100,000 savings to the county over his four-year term.

The reasons to support Dave Slavish are clear. Chaffee County has grown since 1982. It’s time we separate the coroner’s office from the “good ole boy” network and have a full-time, public servant in the office.

J. David Holt
Nathrop, Co.

The Citizen is happy to provide a forum for comments and discussion. Please be civil, truthful, and relevant. Please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Real names are appreciated.

6 Responses to “A choice for coroner”

  1. Tony

    I'm curious what this position pays and what the time requirements are.

    Like (0)
  2. Trey

    According to the 2014 county budget, the position is described as 1.0 FTE and has a base salary of 33,100. Someone who knows more should chime in, though.

    Click to see the whole page.

    Like (0)
    • Jeff Auxier

      Thank you, Chaffee County Government, for wonderfully illustrating the level of information citizens need in a budget.

      Like (0)
  3. Bill Smith

    I really don't feel qualified to pick a coroner. Why do we vote for this position? This seems like one of those that should be hired by the commissioners.

    Like (2)
    • Jeff Auxier

      Bill, you make a good point, and many states appoint coroners. Colorado elects them. They have a lot of power.

      The coroner acts as a sheriff when no sheriff exists. He or she acts as the law enforcement official in any crime allegedly committed by the sheriff. He or she performs important initial law-enforcement duties with respect to identifying homicides, etc.

      I would never, ever suggest that our current coroner is corrupt (in fact, he's my neighbor and I like him), but a corrupt coroner (with or without a corrupt administration) could lead to no recourse against wrongdoers or murderers.

      Elections give folks an oportunity to clean house when and if necessary.

      And just by dint of this election and having two candidates, we now know a bit more about coroners!

      Like (0)
  4. Jeff Graf

    This is to clear up some of the misconceptions by Mr. Slavish, who is running for coroner and his letter writers. The Coroner's office has been located in a funeral home in Chaffee County since at least the early 1900's. In 1998, there were two candidates running for coroner not just in 1994 as expressed in a letter to the editor in the Mountain Mail.

    Randy Amettis is not a part time coroner nor is his Cheif Deputy Coroner. Mr. Amettis or his Chief Deputy Coroner investigates every coroner call in Chaffee County. Most of the time they are both on scene. We live in a small county and there is not a coroner call every day! Yes they both work at a funeral home. Is that such a stretch that they would work in another aspec of the death field? Most of the coroner's in a county our size also work or own a funeral home in the same county they are coroners in. Examples Lake County, Alamosa County, Rio Grande County (Monte Vista) ever Fremont County does not have a facility for the coroner they use a funeral home.

    I have not seen anything stated by the commissioners that they want the cooler moved? Where is Mr. Slavish going to move it too? He said he is going to move it but has not said where other than into a county building. Where is that the courthouse? The Touber Building? How much is it going to cost tax payers to turn these buildings int a coroner's office that is equipped to receive human remains? Is privacy not a concern to these families? Do these families want to be dealing with the general public at a time like this? When was the last time Mr. Slavish investigated a death scene? According to his ads he has worked for the Department of Corrections for 20 years retiring in 1996? So, he has not investigated a death scene in 38 years because in the state of Colorado all Department of Corrections deaths are the jurisdiction of the County Coroner. When he did investigate a death scene it was as a member of law enforcement not as a coroner. We already have law enforcement on these scene we do not need a coroner acting like law enforcement. A coroner by state statue the coroner's job is to determine cause and manner of death. This is not CSI we do not bring charges against people!

    Jeff Graf
    Chaffee County Chief Deputy Coroner.

    Like (7)