The Sheridan County Commission changed the course of the coroner’s office today by setting a salary for the elected official.
For the first time in decades, the next elected coroner will be paid a regular monthly salary to total $15,000, annually. The amount is less than half of the $36,500 proposed as an annual salary by current Coroner PJ Kane, but a step forward, according to Commissioner Mike Nickel.
The commissioners discussed the issue for about a half an hour this morning, before voting unanimously. The discussion included the cost of setting up an office, because up to this point, the coroner has been a funeral home owner, so working out of a funeral home.
Renee Obermueller, who as the commission’s administrator oversees the budget, laid out the details. She said the coroner’s office could be set up in the county building on West 13th Street, that houses the sheriff’s office. She said there was space in the evidence building, because that’s what the room was intended for when built in the 1980s.
There’s already an overhead door there, she said, which would accommodate a vehicle, and three stacked coolers if needed. Also, she said, the county already has a suburban that could be repurposed by taking out the seats and installing a deck system.
Commissioner Steve Maier said the beauty of the plan is that offering a salary and county office now opens the position to anyone. Commissioner Bob Rolston called the plan a cleaner way to do business. Obermueller said the county office for the coroner could be set up easily by the fall, just in time for the newly elected coroner to move in after the first of the year.