Mt. Vernon Register-News

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April 20, 2013

Coroner requests deputy salaries

MT. VERNON — A flap over deputy coroner salaries developed during Thursday's meeting of the county's Fiscal Committee.

Coroner Eddie Joe Marks, for the second time in the past 30 days, requested the line item for salaries of deputy coroners be reinstated. The line item, during the county's budget, was eliminated.

Marks explained he wanted the salaries reinstated so he could take some time off.

That drew criticism from Board Chair Robert White who asked Marks when he campaigned, did he not promise to be a 24/7 coroner. Marks replied that he has done that for the past five years, however, he needs a day off.

"When you look at the overall budget it hasn't changed. The line items that he thought existed aren't the way he thought they existed," White said, following a question from Board member Jim Laird.

"They were zeroed out and I had to absorb those through the cremation money. I was building that up to get approval from the board to buy a van for the office," Marks said. He requested $4,200 for deputy coroner salaries this fiscal year, but added, "I realize we're six months into the year. I don't expect $4,200 to be put back in, but if I got half that amount I would be tickled pink." Marks has received a $3,600 line item for deputy coroner salaries the past three years.

The cremation fund goes into a separate account and can't be used for wages, according to Marks. The coroner's office receives $50 for every cremation performed in the county. Marks said he uses that money for office supplies.

"You shouldn't be the one to run the budget or have Suzy (Tate) cut the budgets because they were not included in the budgets," Marks said to White.

"Are you leveling an accusation at me that I run this budget or I run this budget without input from a committee?" White asked. "If we're gong to talk about accusations, let's talk about not ordering autopsies at a crime scene because you're upset that they're not including you. Do you want to level accusations? Is that what you want?"

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