Quorum Court sets guidelines for coroner compensation

Ty Thompson
Press Argus-Courier

The Crawford County Quorum Court has approved an ordinance setting the deputy coroner's per call compensation. In July of this year, County Coroner Pam Wells approached the quorum court after the department had no money left in the budget to pay salaries. 

Ordinance 2020-23 states that deputy coroners are contracted for the purpose of responding to calls, which may occur at any time, and that they are paid per call. The various guidelines in the ordinance set by the quorum court state that deputy coroners shall be paid $75 per call, unless it is an assist call. 

Deputy coroners shall not respond to more than 25 calls in any calendar month, including the aforementioned assist calls, the ordinance states. In the event of an emergency that makes it necessary for deputy coroners to respond to more than 25 calls, authorization for payment will require approval from the quorum court. 

Crawford County Coroner Pam Wells

Wells said that an assist call would be needed incertain situations such as a plane crash or if someone jumps off the I-40 bridge.

"These are not everyday calls where we would need two coroners on the scene," said Wells.

The county coroners are also included in the the coronavirus relief fund that was created earlier this year. The state has made $150 million available for counties and cities in Arkansas: $75 million of this goes to the counties and another $75 million will go towards the cities. The specific amount given out is based on population. According to Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap, the amount for Crawford County is $1,072, 374.

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According to the Department of Finance and Administration, these may include expenditures incurred to allow the state to respond directly to the emergency. This would include addressing medical or public health needs, as well as expenditures incurred to respond to second-order effects of the emergency like economic support to those suffering from employment or business interruptions due to COVID-19 related business closures.

The application process for these funds has already finished and the county is currently in the waiting period.