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Oneida County approves Medical Examiner agreement with Onondaga County

By JOLEEN FERRIS

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - There was disagreement and debate right up until the end but Oneida County now has a $487,000 year-long contract for medical examiner services through Onondaga County.

The Oneida County Board of Legislators today approved the agreement by a vote of 23-6.

Beginning the first of the year, a homicide or unattended death in the county will not bring a county coroner, but rather, a forensic investigator from Onondaga County. Some legislators feared that Oneida County was signing away a potential money maker.

"I feel strongly that if we actually looked at our own M.E. system here, we could entice counties like Herkimer County, Lewis County, Madison county, some of our bordering counties, to do business with us," said Democrat David Gordon of the 14th district.

Others, however felt that writing a check and entrusting medical examiner services to Onondaga County would help clear up issues with the current, elected coroner system in Oneida County.

"We have vouchers that have not been submitted from March 2012. We're going nine months, vouchers have not been submitted for payment. This is a nightmare when it comes to the comptroller and accounts receivable," said Richard Flisnik, a Republican in the 8th district.

Oneida County will save roughly $100,000 a year on its contract with St. Elizabeth Medical Center since autopsies will no longer need to be performed there. Still to be determined-transportation of the deceased. Oneida County is contracting with transportation agencies itself. Picente plans to chose a transportation outfit by the end of the year.

"We have two very capable providers that could do this and responded completely to the RFP so it's just a matter of looking at both and negotiating and seeing which has the better scope of services for us."

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