New medical examiner would require hefty pay hike

July 10, 2012 4:35:51 PM PDT
It will cost Cook County taxpayers some bonus money if Dr. Stephen Cina is to become the next medical examiner. Dr. Cina was nominated on Tuesday to the post by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Cina, currently the chief administrative officer of the University of Miami's Tissue Bank in Florida, is demanding an annual salary of $300,000 to take the Cook County job according to Pres. Preckwinkle. Outgoing county medical examiner Dr. Nancy Jones is being paid, $230, 640 per year. Jones' resignation is effective at the end of July.

Preckwinkle said Cina has the management know-how to "reshape the medical examiner's office into a model facility." Cina and his salary must be approved by the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

He applied for the Chicago-based position according to county officials who had been conducting a nationwide search. In April Cina was passed over for the top spot in Broward County, Florida where he was second-in-command at the time.

Cina is also requiring Cook County to guarantee him the job for five years. Previous medical examiners here essentially had their jobs in perpetuity because county rules made it nearly impossible for them to be fired. The county board recently changed that arrangement.

Overcrowding problems and other serious management problems the past six months -- exposed by the ABC7 I-Team -- put tremendous pressure on county officials to fix the morgue. Perhaps in a nod to those issues, medical examiner-designee Cina is also demanding that all vacant positions be filled and the morgue staff expanded.

That will be among the larger challenges according to one board commissioner, who notes that Cook County currently has a hiring freeze in place.

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