Funeral home owner replaces Rutland
Michael A. Ross of Lockport was appointed fourth district coroner by Niagara County lawmakers Tuesday night, succeeding former coroner Richard Rutland, who resigned last month.
Ross, who co-owns Hamilton & Clark Funeral Home in Wilson and Ross Funeral Home-Gaul Chapel in Lockport, brings his experience as a funeral director to the post.
The appointment had the unanimous backing of county lawmakers.
Legislator Dave Godfrey, R-Wilson, who chaired the search committee that interviewed possible replacements for Rutland, expressed confidence in the search panel's pick.
"We interviewed four well-qualified candidates, but in Mike Ross we found the right combination of experience and commitment to the job's demanding hours," Godfrey said. "I know I speak for my colleagues when I say that Mr. Ross has our full confidence."
Godfrey also thanked his colleagues for their concerted effort to quickly replace Rutland, minimizing the additional workload placed on the county's three other coroners.
"The legislators who made up the search committee realized this was a serious task. The fourth district is vast - it literally spans the entire lakeshore and northern portion of Niagara County," Godfrey said. "It's a demanding post, and I know that (3rd District Corone) Ken Lederhouse and (2nd District Coroner) Joe Mantione, who have nearly four decades of professional experience between them, really stepped up to staff this post - for the second time in a year. We appreciate their dedication and professionalism."
Rutland was appointed a year ago to fill another early vacancy in the office.
"We are confident that Mike Ross will be an asset for our county and will serve the taxpayers' well," Godfrey said. "We also know he will continue to stress respecting the dignity of the bereaved and the departed, something Richie Rutland did very well."
The post pays $17,500 a year.