The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 16, 2013

Can't be in two places at the same time


Daily Item

---- — I had the opportunity to attend the Northumberland County Commissioners meeting regarding the salary cuts for elected officials. I chose not to speak at that time since I felt like doing so on this issue would appear to some like a campaign speech during a public meeting. I will now share my opinion.

The upcoming cuts in the row offices are a bit excessive, and it is possible, as some are stating, that the future may show a decrease in qualified people to run for these offices. A 10 to 15 percent salary cut across the board, and asking each row office to trim the fat from their budgets is what I would have done as a commissioner. However, saying all of that, I am still the same candidate who is more then qualified, who is willing to be your next county coroner at the reduced salary.

After some quick math it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that for a position as coroner in Northumberland County, it is still a decent paying job for our area. Don't forget a pension and health benefits that many people could only dream of. I have been reading some newspaper and social media comments from what I can only assume are from the committee of the incumbent coroner and I must ask, "you're kidding me, right?" Does anyone truly believe that a funeral director/owner, doubling as part-time coroner, is struggling financially so much with his funeral home that he needs a part-time political job to make "ends meet?"

The incumbent is the owner of a lucrative funeral home business. You are aware of the profit margin in the death industry? Let me assure you that he won't be needing to apply for government assistance if he gets another term.

And on that note, when will someone seriously take a hard look at term limits in all government? The worst that may happen to the incumbent is he may need to decrease his 10-day cruise to the Bahamas down to a 7-day cruise.

I cannot argue the job as the coroner can be demanding at times, but he has two other deputy coroners also earning a salary so he truly is not on call 24/7, 365 days a year. If he was, he surely couldn't be running a funeral home which is very time consuming and is definitely a 24/7, 365 day a year job. The fact is there are only 24 hours in one day and you can't be in two places at one time. And allow me to take a past comment which I believe was one of his or his supporters, "death doesn't wait."

As per the "Right to Know" request I submitted for the years 2011 through 2013, the incumbent coroner, or any of his staff has never attended a county meeting with the exception of this one. Curious if he would have attended if they were looking to increase the row office salaries? If I was a betting man, I would bet that since the incumbent was first elected to office this was not just his first, but the only meeting he has ever attended. Not to mention the other 12 years when he was the deputy coroner or chief deputy coroner.

So out of two-plus decades since he has been in the coroner's office in some capacity, he has attended one meeting?

So I ask, is he running a full-time coroner's office or a full-time funeral home?

In conclusion, what really disturbed me and not as a candidate, but as a taxpayer, was the threat made prior to the vote about suing the county if the commissioners decreased the row office salaries. On what grounds is anyone suing the county? The salaries being decreased are for the new row officers going into office and not any individual. And the last time I checked Mr. Kelley, there is an election to be held on Nov. 5.

n Leo J. Mirolli Jr. is the Republican candidate for Northumberland County coroner. He is a certified paramedic and licensed funeral director.