St. Tammany Council denies coroner's push to hire $115,000 per year Exec. Dir.

Covington, La. - Thursday, the Saint Tammany Parish Council refused to consider a request by Coroner Peter Galvan, M.D. to allow for the hiring of a new executive director at a salary of $115,000 per year.

This, after the previous executive director resigned.

State lawmakers shifted control of the coroner's reserve fund -- $5-6 million – to the council. Thus, it's their call on salary decisions and Thursday, they refuse to allow the proposed hire to go through.

At the meeting, numerous council members called attention to the fact that Galvan wasn't in attendance and therefore couldn't answer critical questions about the position or the candidate. Meanwhile, council members and several speakers in the audience raised concerns about the salary level.

An attorney representing the coroner said a firm handpicked the candidate, whose name he would not divulge, after a national search.

Ultimately, however, several council members pointed to the ongoing controversy surrounding the coroner's office as a critical factor in its decision to pass on the hire.