LIMA — Allen County Coroner Gary Beasley is running his office on bare bones. On Friday, he made his pitch to Allen County commissioners for why his office needs more money for deputy coroner and investigator positions.
Beasley said the office currently has a deputy coroner who responds as needed when Beasley is unavailable. Beasley wants to increase funding for the position to $12,000 from $5,500 last year.
“I have a deputy coroner and we’re very, very fortunate,” Beasley said. “Not everybody wants to be a coroner and nobody wants to be a deputy coroner for nothing.”
Beasley said it’s of critical importance to hire an investigator because there are times when both he and the deputy coroner are unavailable and law enforcement officials don’t investigate a person’s death in the same way his office does.
“I have been very, very fortunate that our local authorities have been very cooperative in this. You have to realize they investigate crime and not death,” Beasley said. “The coroner’s office investigates death. I’m the last person that gets to speak for the dead person. We’ve got to get that right.”
Beasley said he understands the county’s budget strains which is why he’s run such a tight ship.
“You have to do with what’s afforded to you. We understand that with the drawbacks from the state the county’s not getting money from the state,” Beasley said. “Costs are going up, unfortunately, they are not going down. Trying to meet budgetary needs across the county is of the utmost concern to the commissioners. But, I’ve got a job the people of the county elected me to do.”
Beasley said the lack of funding has meant his office is backlogged with paperwork and other processes that could be handled more quickly and efficiently with more help.
“I can only do what I can do with what money I have,” he said. “We’ve been making by with it but I have things that should probably have been done but they are on the back burner.”
Commissioner Cory Noonan said he understands and appreciates Beasley’s perspective but said commissioners have a tough job ahead of them prioritizing requests from various departments.
“We’re working through things line by line,” Noonan said. “Requests exceed money coming in.”