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April 17, 2013

Rutland resigning coroner's post

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Fourth District Niagara County Coroner Richard Rutland announced his resignation Tuesday.

Rutland, a funeral director in Newfane who was elected to the post last fall, is resigning effective April 30.

He’s departing the post for “personal reasons,” he said in Tuesday-dated letter to the Niagara County Legislature. 

“The demands of this post compete with my other professional obligations and my family life. To be the coroner Niagara County’s residents deserve, I fear those areas might suffer,” Rutland said in a follow-up statement to the legislature’s public information office. “I vowed, when I took this office, that I would treat deaths with absolute dignity. I am proud to say I lived up to that promise. That is also why I have decided to step down.”

Rutland’s announcement apparently took lawmakers by surprise. During a break in their meeting, veteran lawmakers told each other that they’d had no advance knowledge of Rutland’s intention and no idea what “personal reasons” meant.

Rutland was appointed to the Fourth District coroner’s post in June 2012, about a month after Russell Jackman resigned it after admitting he’d mishandled a deceased motor vehicle accident victim’s remains. Rutland ran successfully for election to the post in November.

The Legislature likely will appoint Rutland’s replacement at its May 7 business meeting. Candidates for appointment will be interviewed by the Community Safety and Security committee, which oversees the county coroner system.

Chairman David Godfrey said the vacancy will be posted this week and resumes will be accepted from interested Fourth District residents until May 3.

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