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Commission rejects another idea for insignia on coroner's vehicles

Feb 8, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

A disagreement among county officials over vehicle decals continues to have no end in sight. The Fremont County Commission rejected a "compromise" from county Coroner Ed McAuslan on Jan. 29.

The current dispute stems from a memo the commission issued in January 2012 stating all county vehicles must bear a county decal. The coroner's office operates two SUVs that have no markings.

In a letter dated Jan. 19, McAuslan proposed using magnetic signs on his vehicles with the logo of the Fremont County Coroner's Office.

The logo he referred to is the badge of the coroner's office. It has the words "Fremont County Coroner" on a circle around a seven-pointed star.

In the letter, McAuslan said he, former commissioner Dennis Christensen and county vehicle maintenance supervisor Glen Steers came up with the same idea during the summer.

"I believe it is time to put this issue to rest," McAuslan wrote. "It is not in the best interest of Fremont County to continue these discussions. This compromise will fulfill the conditions of both sides."

Commissioners seemed to take issue mostly with McAuslan's request to use the coroner's office logo.

"I thought we discussed this," commissioner Larry Allen said. "I'm inclined to stick with our plan."

On Jan. 8, the commission clarified its logo policy to say all new logos on vehicles had to be uniform: an outline of the county with "Fremont County" on top with either "Government" or the office's name below.

Allen also suggested setting a deadline for the coroner to install decals following the county's policy.

Commissioner Keja Whiteman said she thought their amended policy was a compromise.

"It doesn't have to be identified as the coroner," she said. "It could just be 'government.'"

McAuslan has argued that identifying his vehicles as coroner's vehicles could draw attention that would impede his investigations.

Commissioner Stephanie Kessler also thought the logo specified in the coroner's proposal was the problem.

"I offered an amendment to our policy ... that it be our logo and it be magnetic," she said. "This seems to be more."

Chairman Doug Thompson asked if there were any motions to modify the county decals policy in light of the coroner's proposal and brought up the deadline suggestion.

No one spoke up, and no action was taken.

The commission will communicate to McAuslan that it did not approve his proposal.

"Now it's in his court again," vice chairman Travis Becker said after the meeting, referring to McAuslan.

There is no indication, however, what the next step will be or when a resolution will come.

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