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County OKs contract for autopsy transfers

By Bob Steenson,

Floyd County supervisors approved a contract with a local funeral home to help transport bodies when needed for autopsies and also gave their IT director a pay raise during a short regular meeting Tuesday morning.

The supervisors approved a non-exclusive contract with Hauser Weishaar Funeral Home to transport bodies to the Iowa State Medical Examiners Office in Ankeny when needed for an autopsy ordered by authorities.

The county is legally required to pay for official autopsies of county residents that are ordered by law enforcement, the county attorney’s office, the county medical examiner, the state medical examiner or other authorized officials, usually in the case of unknown or suspicious causes of death.

The transports will be done when funeral home personnel and a vehicle are available, for a straight fee of $850 per trip, plus an additional $150 if the funeral home is required to use one of its own body pouches for the transport.

The county has been working on a way to transport bodies for official autopsy — which usually only happens a few times a year — since a pathology group in Mason City said it was at least temporarily not doing autopsies, and AMR ambulance said it didn’t really want to be involved in body transfers, but would do so for $2,500 per trip.

Hauser Weishaar owner John Weishaar was at the meeting, and said he realized that the transfers wouldn’t happen very often, “but at least this way everything gets covered.”

Supervisor Roy Schwickerath, who has been working on the problem, said he will continue looking for additional options, including to cover if Hauser Weishaar is unavailable for a transfer.

In other business:

• Supervisor Linda Tjaden said a discussion held during a planning session Monday regarding relocating the county Veterans Affairs office to the social services building at 1206 S. Main Street may have been premature, because VA Executive Director Maria Deike needs to work with the county Recorder’s Office up to several times a day. Both the VA and Recorder’s Office are currently located in the courthouse.

• Agreed to give county IT Director Bernie Solomon a pay increase effective with his six-month anniversary of being hired. The exact amount of the increase was not immediately known Tuesday morning, as supervisors wanted to check what other employees had received after a similar amount of time and if a specific increase had been discussed previously.

• Agreed County Engineer Dusty Rolando could begin actions to replace a retiring motor grader operator. Rolando indicated he may fill the position by transferring a current Secondary Roads Department employee, then advertise to fill that person’s position.