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County Board Tables Morgue Reform

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A motion by Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey to make firing the county medical examiner easier was re-directed Wednesday to the Finance Committee.

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Pastors, Activists Protest at County Morgue

Published reports say bodies have been piling up in coolers at the facility for weeks.

Changes Coming to County Morgue

Promising an immediate shakeup of staff and operations, County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Thursday she is "disturbed" by accusations of bodies being stacked in a storage cooler at the Medical Examiner's Office.
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A motion by Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey to make firing the county medical examiner easier was re-directed Wednesday to the Finance Committee.

Reasons for the move were unclear, but many commissioners seemed to want more time to address what they felt are compound problems at the morgue without blaming the current Medical Examiner Dr. Nancy Jones. 

"While a picture can tell a story, it doesn't always tell a true story," said Commissioner Bridget Gainer.

Fritchey, who thought he had a deal with County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, was upset but still went along with the vote.

"Had a commitment to have my Medical Examiner ordinance called for a vote today, then watched them send it to committee," the commissioner commented on social media.

The motion followed Preckwinkle's announcement last week to overhaul staff and operations at the Medical Examiner's Office, saying she is "disturbed" by accusations of bodies being stacked in a storage cooler.

Preckwinkle didn't say last week whether she wants Jones fired but said, "no county official should have a term equal to that of a Supreme Court Justice ... essentially life."

Preckwinkle on Wednesday met with ministers to address concerns about the Medical Examiner’s office and steps the county is taking to remediate problems.

“The spirit of the overhaul is right, and anything we can do to help going forward, count us as friends and partners,” said Marshall Hatch, pastor of New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church and board chair of the Leaders Network, in a statement.

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