PULASKI COUNTY, Missouri- Barely an hour after being subjected to severe criticism at today’s Pulaski County Commission meeting, County Coroner Gary Carmack announced his intention to resign from the office to which he was elected only nine months ago, the Pulaski County Daily News reports.
Carmack has said little so far about his reasons for resigning apart from a comment on Facebook that “the ‘powers to be’ would prefer someone who couldn’t investigate the death of a sick cow (let alone) a human.”
Carmack had been the county coroner for many years prior to his 2000 election as Eastern District county commissioner, at which point he was appointed deputy coroner by the new coroner, Mikel Hartness. Carmack, then still a Democrat, was defeated in the 2004 election for Eastern District Commissioner by Republican Bill Farnham, who was himself defeated in 2012 by the current Eastern District Commissioner, Lynn Sharp.
The coroner position in Pulaski County is a part-time job. Carmack had for many years been head of thePulaski County Ambulance District, but resigned under pressure and was replaced by Mikel Hartness, who chose not to run for re-election as coroner in 2016 and opened up the post for which Carmack ran, the report said.
At today’s commission meeting, all the commissioners as well as Pulaski County SheriffJimmy Bench expressed concern about claims that Carmack was not responding to coroner calls following deaths. Bench confirmed claims by Western District Commissioner Ricky Zweerink that Carmack had failed to respond for hours, resulting in a sheriff’s deputy needing to remain on a scene to maintain control of a dead body.
“He won’t answer law enforcement when they call him, and they came to us,” said Presiding Commissioner Gene Newkirk.
“You’d have to have your head under a rock to get elected and not expect to get calls,” Zweerink said. “We’re not looking for trouble, we’re just looking for results.”
“I can understand one or two, but not five” incidents of the corner not responding, Sharp said.
At the request of commissioners, Prosecutor Kevin Hillman outlined a procedure which could be used to remove Carmack from office should the county commission successfully document that Carmack had failed to perform the duties of his office. Hillman cautioned that he was explaining procedure for removing elected officials, not saying the procedure should be used in Carmack’s case.