Garfield County coroner’s pay suspended for training oversight
September 12, 2009
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Garfield County coroner will be working without pay for a while, after he was cited by a state coroner’s group for not keeping current with his annual educational obligations.
Trey Holt, who operates a local funeral home as well as being Garfield County’s elected coroner, was cited in an Aug. 13 letter by the Colorado Coroners Standards and Training Board, for failure to attend 16 hours of in-service training for 2008.
According to county attorney Don DeFord, state law requires that the board of county commissioners hold the coroner accountable for the reported oversight.
At the Sept. 8 Garfield County commissioners meeting, DeFord explained, “You are required to suspend the coroner’s salary” until Holt provides documentation that he has completed the required training. His salary is $44,000 per year, and his basic job is to establish and report the causes of deaths within his jurisdiction.
Other responsibilities, according to the Colorado Coroners Association website, include providing information to the public, and working with other state and federal agencies either in educational or investigative roles.
The website also explains that attendance by a coroner at the annual June coroners’ conference is sufficient to qualify as meeting the training requirements, although other kinds of training also will do the job.
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According to DeFord, the failure to show proof that Holt has met the training requirements has no effect on his tenure in office.
Holt, taking the development with some humor, said he had simply never gotten around to the training, and that he is already planning to go to Montrose to take care of the matter “in the next couple of weeks.”
“I’ll have it before they withhold the first check,” he joked.
Seriously, he said, the oversight will have no effect on his functioning as the coroner, a job that he once handled on an informal basis, without pay, before being elected as the county coroner in 2007.