Trouble in the Adams County Coroner's Office

January 2011

Monica Broncucia-Jordan, Adams County's newly elected coroner, is inciting criticism after just a couple weeks in office for firing nine staffers and then encouraging them to re-apply. To understand the controversy, we have to go back to 2009. That's when Broncucia-Jordan was fired by the former coroner, Jim Hibbard, before filing a federal lawsuit that alleges she was retaliated against for acting as a witness to another female staffer's alleged sexual harassment by Hibbard and a male supervisor (via 7News). So, what does that have to do with Broncucia-Jordan's recent house cleaning? Nothing, according to her official line: "I don't have any specific issues with any specific individuals. This is my way of evaluating the staff and making sure that the best services are provided to the citizens of Adams County."

But the employees in question feel Broncucia-Jordan's problems with her predecessor are very much at the heart of the firings. "Absolutely," says employee Victoria Verderosa. In all, six full-time deputy coroners (death investigators), three temporary deputy coroners, one administrative clerk, and one temporary clerk lost their jobs, notes 9News, which reports that the open positions could be posted soon.

Deputy coroner investigator Lara Ward, who was hired in October, says she'll re-apply for her job, but she's "a little upset just because I do have the education, as well as background and experience, to be in this office, so I'm a little frustrated because it is a tough economy, and it's gonna be tough for the rest of my co-workers." Broncucia-Jordan claims workflow won't be affected, but it is hard to see how that will be the case, as her office is now relying, for the time being, on volunteers.