Fresno supervisors approve moving coroner to sheriff

The proposal to make the Fresno County Coroner's office part of the Sheriff's Department was finalized, but the real reason for the switch is a mystery.
December 3, 2013 4:55:14 PM PST
The proposal to make the Fresno County Coroner's office part of the Sheriff's Department was finalized, but the real reason for the switch is a mystery.

After reviewing a report from the County Administrator and hearing testimony from the Sheriff and District Attorney, board of Supervisors Chairman Henry Perea said he saw no reason for the change. But supervisor Debbie Poochigian, who has spearheaded the move, interjected that there were things the public should not know.

Here's the exchange.

Perea: "There's nothing here."

Poochigian: "There's nothing public. Would you like to talk about the shortcomings of the coroner's office?"

Perea: "Yes, it's a public hearing."

Poochigian: "I mean I don't think we want to go there."

And when the Coroner, Dr. David Hadden came to the podium to questioned the need for this change, Supervisor Phil Larson added to the mystery.

Larson scolded Hadden, "There's issues out there Dr. Hadden. There's issues we don't want to bring forward. There's issues that could embarrass you, could embarrass us, there's issues and you know there are issues therefore let's make a vote."

Outside the supervisors chambers ABC30 asked Hadden about those supposedly embarrassing issues.

"I have no idea," said Hadden. "I know of nothing that has gone on in the coroner's office that would have embarrassed me."

And when Phil Larson emerged, ABC30 asked him for an explanation.

Reporter: "You said there were embarrassing secrets that could not be revealed."

Larson: "There's issues that dealt with personnel issues there have been issues that have caused us to examine the questions."

But when told Hadden said he did not know of any embarrassing issues, Larson shot back with an expletive.

Larson: "Oh B... S... t", I told him yesterday."

ABC30 asked Larson if the public didn't have a right to know.

Larson: "Oh sure they do."

Reporter: "So, what are the issues?"

Larson: "They will come forward in time, and I'm not gonna tell you."

Supporters of the switch from an elected coroner to having the sheriff as the coroner say it's more efficient, but Perea says it will cost more money.

The switch takes place in January of next year, when Dr. Haddens more than 30 years as a coroner, elected by the people, will come to an end.


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