Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

County Negotiating to Hire Temporary Coroner

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

County Negotiating to Hire Temporary Coroner

Article excerpt

Former Shawnee County coroner Erik Mitchell would like to be considered to reassume that job, a representative for Mitchell's company told county commissioners Monday.

Meanwhile, commission chairman Bob Archer said the county is looking at a couple of options for filling the vacancy being left Friday by coroner Donald Pojman's resignation.

Archer said the county is "in negotiations for someone to take this assignment on a temporary basis."

Archer wouldn't identify the person or company with whom the county was negotiating. He suggested commissioners would take up the matter at their meeting Thursday.

Without taking a vote, commissioners Archer, Kevin Cook and Shelly Buhler acknowledged Monday they had received a letter from Pojman announcing his resignation.

Pojman, 50, told The Topeka Capital-Journal on Friday a key factor in his decision to leave the office was the fact that he and his wife, Kathryn Pojman, are about to become empty nesters.

He said: "With my only child leaving for college this fall, I've decided that it's time for me to make a change in my life. I'm going to just leave it at that."

Pojman acknowledged he was "not really sure" what he would do after leaving office.

Archer publicly thanked Pojman, who wasn't present at Monday's meeting, for his service to the county.

Archer told reporters afterward that when the county fills the coroner's position permanently, it will do its due diligence to ensure "we get the best that we can."

He said the county had been in contact with District Attorney Chad Taylor's office during its process of seeking to fill the coroner's position. Taylor told commissioners last July he considered it important for the county to employ two forensic pathologists instead of just Pojman. Having one pathologist is "a nightmare," Taylor said, because of the extensive backlog it creates.

Pojman told The Capital-Journal Monday that the coroner's office really needs more than just one forensic pathologist to carry out its duties effectively.

Commissioners appointed Pojman as coroner in November 2011 to replace Mitchell. …

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