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Montgomery County Coroner takes $325K second job as county expands contract with his new employer

Montgomery County Coroner takes $325K second job as county expands contract with his new employer

The pay back minimize lowers his Montgomery County compensation to $89,709 this yr. He was paid $219,862 previous calendar year, which made him the county’s second-greatest-paid out personnel.

Harshbarger obtained the work offer from Franklin County in March and started the work in May well building $325,000 a yr performing 30 hours a 7 days. His title is deputy coroner/forensic pathologist. Harshbarger is a licensed forensic pathologist.

Harshbarger said the work was a “good option,” but he generally went to Franklin County to aid it deal with a workers exodus that left him as the only workers forensic pathologist there when he begun amid a surge of deaths needing autopsies.

“I’m just hoping to assist the households of Franklin County,” he stated.

The place of work of Franklin County Coroner Anahi Ortiz would not remedy queries about Harshbarger’s employment, what brought about their personnel to go away or what they are performing about it.

New agreement

Montgomery County finalized a new agreement with the Franklin County Coroner’s Place of work in March. Franklin County will pay out Montgomery County up to $320,000 via December for coroner services.

Harshbarger reported this was one more work to assist Franklin County deal with its staff shortage.

“Franklin County wanted a put to send their autopsies to,” he claimed. “I had nothing to do with the deal and how it was signed or the phrases.”

He said he recused himself entirely from negotiating that contract immediately after consulting with Montgomery County commissioners and their lawyers and delegated the method to his business director, Brooke Ehlers. Ehlers is the signatory on the contract for Montgomery County.

Franklin County has paid Montgomery County $50,896 as a result of June, in accordance to information attained employing community information legislation.

Harshbarger reported Franklin County stopped sending instances to Montgomery County mainly because of concerns about opportunity conflict. Most Franklin County situations now go to Hamilton County.

‘Raises concerns beneath ethics law’

Ohio ethics law bans public officials from contracting with their outdoors companies. The Dayton Everyday Information last year noted that many elected county coroners get the job done for other counties with which their offices deal.

Warren County Coroner Russell Uptegrove works for the Hamilton County coroners’ workplace, the place Warren County sends a lot of of its autopsies. Clark County Coroner Susan Brown is Montgomery County’s highest-paid worker, earning $230,995 very last 12 months as a forensic pathologist, and Clark County sends all of its autopsies to Montgomery County.

“It raises concerns less than the ethics regulation,” Ohio Ethics Commission Director Paul Nick stated of the practice of county coroners taking work opportunities with other counties with which their business has contracts.

Ohio legislation permits authorities entities to attain an viewpoint from the Ethics Fee ahead of getting an action to get an official ruling on irrespective of whether it is in line with condition ethics regulation. No a person has acquired an advisory impression on the follow from the ethics commission.

ExamineCounty coroners’ multiple side jobs raise concerns

Just after the newspaper’s story published last year, both equally Hamilton County and Uptegrove independently achieved out to the Ethics Commission for steering in November. The Ethics Fee furnished a point sheet and earlier thoughts relevant to general public contracting but mentioned the requesters would have to search for a formal belief if they desired the fee to weigh in on the specifics in their circumstance.

Ethics Fee officers also noted that they cannot give an viewpoint on actions that have now been taken.

“We all want to observe the policies, just we just can’t get the rule described,” Harshbarger reported.

Other contracts

Brown reported she offered input in the most latest contract negotiations among Clark and Montgomery counties based on her practical experience as a forensic pathologist, but the agreement was negotiated and signed by Clark County commissioners.

She said Montgomery County supplied the ideal offer and was closer for funeral properties and family members of the deceased than other counties. Clark County does not have the facilities to do its very own autopsies.

Prior to the agreement in between Franklin and Montgomery counties signed in March, Montgomery County did occasional function for Franklin County. Franklin County compensated Montgomery County $1,600 for one autopsy in 2021 and $3,200 for two autopsies in 2020, in accordance to fiscal documents attained from Franklin County.

Harshbarger also earlier labored for Franklin County on a much more confined component-time foundation.

Harshbarger said he now does fewer autopsies in Montgomery County but has enough team to cope with the workload. As soon as Franklin County is stabilized, he intends to return to performing full-time in Montgomery County.

He claimed Montgomery County currently has the workers to cope with enhanced caseloads in this article. But the industry is ever more aggressive, forcing significant turnover as businesses poach staff from every other. He said this circumstance underlines a national scarcity of forensic pathologists that pitfalls turning into a crisis as the amount of essential autopsies in this article and in other places spike in the wake of the pandemic.