Bill seeks to give coroner a raise

Published 6:16 pm Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Crenshaw County coroner may soon get a raise, if a bill that is set to be introduced by Rep. Charles Newton passes the state Legislature.

According to the bill, “Effective commencing Oct. 1, 2014, the coroner of Crenshaw County shall receive an expense allowance in the amount of $1,500 per month to be paid out of the county general fund. The expense allowances provided for in this section shall be in lieu of all other compensation and expenses received by the coroner in Crenshaw County and shall be the only expense allowances provided for by law for the coroner. The Coroner of Crenshaw County may appoint a deputy coroner to serve at his or her absence at no expense to the county. The Crenshaw County Commission may increase the expense allowance for the coroner as provided in this section by a majority vote of all members of the commission.”

Coroner Ronny Turner requested a raise citing that his expenses were increasing.

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Turner said that the district attorney’s office needed his involvement more.

County attorney and assistant district attorney Levi Nichols said he always makes a point to talk to the coroner and an investigator and if there are any questions, an autopsy is required.

Additionally, each unattended death in the county is presented to the grand jury.

“I do a lot of things I don’t charge for,” he said.

Turner told the commission that his business – a local funeral home – eats up more costs that the county provides at the current rate.

Turner told the commission that the coroner in Montgomery County makes $80,000 to $100,000; the coroner in Pike County makes $20,000-plus and supplies; in Coffee County the coroner makes equivalent to a commissioner plus expenses and in Dale County, the corner makes more than $20,000.

Turner reminded the commission that it would cost them a lot more money if he were not in the funeral home business.