‘I’m not sure that it’s legal’: Coroner explains work stresses during budget hearing

‘I’m not sure that it’s legal’: Coroner explains work stresses during budget hearing
In Monday night’s budget hearing, Jefferson County coroner Dr. Barbara Weakley-Jones went to bat for her employees.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Monday night, Metro Council wrapped up the first round of hearings before a crucial vote on the mayor’s proposed budget later this month.

The city needs to fix a $35 million shortfall for the fiscal year that begins in July.

In Monday night’s budget hearing, Jefferson County coroner Dr. Barbara Weakley-Jones went to bat for her employees.

She’s being asked to cut $65,000, which would be equal to one deputy coroner.

“I don’t know how I can do that. I really don’t,” Weakley-Jones said. “I don’t how it’s possible to do that and not have extensive overtime, which they don’t get paid for anyway.”

Instead, she asked councilmembers to give her office more money.

Coroner cases have been on the rise since 2014, increasing by about 500 per year. Weakley-Jones acknowledged an increase in homicides and drug overdoses.

Employees in the coroner’s office are paid a flat salary that doesn’t take into account the workload.

Weakley-Jones said she can’t afford to lose even one deputy coroner.

Coroners and deputy coroners do not get sick time, vacation time or overtime.

“I do not know of another metro agency that does not get these benefits,” she said. “To be honest, I’m not sure that it’s legal.”

Monday night the council also heard from the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office and Metro Health and Wellness.

Now that the first round of budget hearings are done, certain agencies will be called back to answer more questions.

The council will vote on the budget on June 25.

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