JOHNSTOWN - Fulton County Coroner Margaret Luck on Monday asked county legislators to create an "administrative coroner" position so she can be paid a stipend for administrative work she has been doing on behalf of the coroner's office since 1997.
Luck addressed the Board of Supervisors' Public Safety Committee, which approved her proposed resolution at the County Office Building. The proposal still has to go through the Personnel and Finance Committees as well as the full board.
The proposal calls for paying Luck a stipend of $1,680 per year, equal to about $140 per month. She said the county's other coroner, Art Simmons Jr., is aware of the proposal she put forth Monday.
County Coroner Margaret Luck speaks to the Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee on Monday at the Fulton County Office Building in Johnstown.
Board Chairman Michael F. Gendron was the only one voting against the stipend, saying the county will be strapped again facing a tax cap.
"We don't have the money," Gendron said.
Fulton County employs two elected coroners who receive equal pay for death investigations on a per-call basis, and they often work independently.
"A lot of times I don't know he has a call," Luck said of Simmons. "I don't know when he's submitted a bill."
The office also requires central administrative and budgeting tasks, which Luck does.
"This is just the administrative and operational areas of the coroner's office that has to be done," Luck said. "I've been doing it. It should have been set up years ago."
Since 1997, she said, she's been handling duties such as processing office expenses, corresponding with agencies and families, working with toxicology labs, developing policies, planning and preparing budgets, monitoring expenses activities, ordering equipment, maintaining rotation of body bags, developing a county Mass Fatality Plan, assisting with developing health and safety programs and meeting regularly with various committees and boards.
Luck said that neither she nor Simmons is required to do the administrative duties, but she has done them.
Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery said he supports the position being considered later in the year during budget time, but "not now." But he approved moving the idea to the other committees.
Michael Anich covers Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.