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Niagara County: Collins to helm coroner replacement

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Thu, Nov 3rd 2016 06:05 pm

Search committee will identify Lederhouse successor

Christian W. Peck

Public Information Officer

Niagara County Public Information Office

With Monday's resignation of District 3 Coroner Kenneth V. Lederhouse, county lawmakers will start the process of identifying a successor to the long-time public official, Legislature Chairman Wm. Keith McNall, R-Lockport, announced Thursday morning.

McNall asked Legislator Will Collins, R-Lockport, a freshman lawmaker who lives in Coroner District 3, to chair the effort. This marks a significant change for Eastern Niagara County, where Lederhouse has served as coroner for 31 years.

"The 3rd District includes Lockport, Royalton, Hartland and Somerset, and we wanted to make sure those communities had a strong voice in identifying a successor to Ken," McNall explained. "Ken has performed a difficult task for three decades, and we want to ensure we find an individual of the same caliber and character."

Collins will lead a search committee including legislators Tony Nemi, R-Lockport; Clyde L. Burmaster, R-Ransomville; and Dennis F. Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls. Lederhouse and 2nd District Coroner Joseph V. Mantione will also be involved in the committee's search process.

"Ken always handled his duties in a way that showed respect for the deceased and preserved their dignity," Collins noted. "We will expect no less in the person that replaces him - and replacing Ken Lederhouse will be no easy task."

Collins noted an advertisement for the position would be running in official media later in the week. Applicants are urged to submit their résumés to the ad hoc coroner committee, c/o Clerk of the Legislature Mary Jo Tamburlin, 175 Hawley St., Lockport. Applications must be postmarked no later than Nov. 7.

New Details Released on Medical Examiner Question

In related news, McNall noted Virtuoso will step away from a study committee, announced Wednesday, that will consider implementing a medical examiner or otherwise restructuring the coroner posts in Niagara County.

Replacing Virtuoso will be Legislator Jason A. Zona, D-Niagara Falls.

The legislature also released new figures that reflect the growing costs associated with outsourcing the medical examiner function to Erie County.

Under a contract for 2017 medical examiner services, the county's costs for autopsy will rise to $1,786 for full autopsies. Partial autopsies will now be $1,510, and external exams will be $1,137. The cost rises to $2,500 if the deceased is an inmate.

A committee chaired by Newfane lawmaker John Syracuse is tasked with exploring options, including a Niagara County-based medical examiner, as ways to reduce, contain or slow the costs to county taxpayers associated with autopsy.

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