One of two men who want to be coroner won’t make selectiion meeting

By Ed Runyan


When Trumbull County Democratic Party Central Committee members meet at 5 p.m. Thursday at Enzo’s Restaurant on Elm Road to select someone to be Trumbull County coroner, they will have several factors to consider – experience, character, ethical conflict, even party loyalty.

Neither candidate is a forensic pathologist, as the previous coroner was, so autopsies will be carried out elsewhere no matter which person is selected.

The candidates are allowed to give short presentations, but one of the two candidates, Dr. Thomas James of Vienna, who took the oath of office as interim county coroner April 25, is in Dallas and won’t be available for the meeting.

In a letter to central committee members, Dr. James said the meeting date was selected “without my input or knowledge,” and he is unable to miss the Boy Scouts of America National annual meeting he is attending this week.

The previous coroner, Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, who died April 20, appointed Dr. James to serve as deputy coroner Jan. 4 when Dr. Germaniuk was hospitalized.

Dr. Germaniuk’s wife, Genievieve Germaniuk, wrote a letter of support for James to central committee members, saying James “has an excellent rapport and working relationship with the current investigative staff that are experienced and highly competent, continuing the legacy of upholding the high standards of excellence set by Dr. Germaniuk.”

Dr. Phillip Malvasi, the other candidate who has a medical practice in Niles, also serves as medical director for the county jail.

He checked into whether there is an ethical conflict in being jail medical director and county coroner and was advised there is not, Dr. Malvasi said when contacted by telephone Tuesday.

He said he was endorsed by the Democratic Party in 2004 but lost to Dr. Ted Soboslay in the general election. He chose not to run against Dr. Germaniuk, he said.

As for issues at the coroner’s office, Dr. Malvasi said he will end the practice of having autopsies conducted on overdose deaths.

“If you find a guy with a needle in his arm, you don’t need to do an autopsy,” Dr. Malvasi said. Testing of the deceased person’s blood is done on apparent overdose deaths to verify the cause of death.

Atty. Jeff Goodman, party parliamentarian, said precinct committee members will vote on a piece of paper that also has their name on it.

The votes are counted by members of the elections board staff, and the “tally sheets” created from the results are “open for inspection” and kept for the length of time of the position involved, Goodman said. For instance, the term of office for a coroner is four years.

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