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Our View: Not enough information regarding the coroner

Published: Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

While we certainly wish her good health, we’re concerned about the lack of information regarding the supervision of the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

Dr. Anne Majewski has been on medical leave since October, although it took reporters some time to gather even that much basic information. We respect that she has some right to privacy, but the public is entitled to more information than it’s received.

Part of the difficulty in determining what is happening is because Majewski doesn’t answer to other McHenry County staff. She is an elected official, so the only people she answers to are members of the public.

Majewski said she had computer equipment installed in her home so that she can run the day-to-day operations of the office, which she maintains she has been doing since Nov. 4.

“I have had full access to all information and regular contact with my staff, enabling me to fulfill all my duties as coroner, including, but not limited to, the review of all case documents, payroll and budgetary responsibilities, writing press releases, and responding to correspondence,” Majewski told the Northwest Herald in an email.

We don’t doubt that she is doing the best job she can from home, but home is not the best place for an elected public official to do the most effective job possible.

Advancements in technology have made it possible for many to work at home either completely or for large portions of their responsibility.

But stretches of several months without appearing in the office is shortchanging taxpayers – medical issue or otherwise. Majewski is more than a staff member. She is the person voters put in charge of running the office.

Diagnosing the problem is difficult because there is so much unknown, which has been a theme of Majewski’s administration since she won an election for the office without any opposition more than a year ago.

Answering only when asked why she isn’t in the office and not knowing when she’ll return puts the public in an awkward position.

We hope Majewski’s health improves for her benefit and so this no longer will be an issue. In the meantime, we wonder whether it’s in the best interest of taxpayers for her to step down – even temporarily – while she recovers from whatever is ailing her.

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