Siebert's Staff Will Walk, too

Dr. Siebert won't be the only one leaving office at midnight Friday night. Technically the Medical Examiner’s staff works for Siebert, and if he leaves, they leave. Some of them say they don't want to stick around for the new boss, whoever that might be.

For 6 and a half years, Lisa Rickman has been the Director of Investigations for the 14th Judicial Circuit Medical Examiners office but by midnight Friday, she could be out of a job.

“This district is a little unique in that Dr. Seibert contracts with the 6 counties in the judicial circuit to provide his Medical Examiner services along with his staff services so when his job here is done so is ours."

Since the entire staff was hired by Siebert, they would have to re-apply if a new Medical Examiner is brought in, but Ruckman says she only wants to work for Siebert.

"I feel that this district has had a revolving door of Medical Examiners ever since Dr. Sybers left and we finally have not only found a very qualified and dedicated Medical Examiner but one who is willing to stay on a permanent basis and really commit himself to this community."

Ruckman feels as though the Medical Examiner's Commission abused its power and sent a negative message throughout the country.

"I think every Medical Examiner in the state of Florida now is scared to speak up to the commission and everyone outside the State of Florida doesn't want to come near hear."

Ruckman and the rest of the staff spent Friday tying up loose ends and packing personal belongings, something they hoped they would never have to do.

"It has been a long 2 1/2 years and everyone is so tired of waiting for the next bomb to drop."
But, they remain optimistic.

"Hopefully we will be returning Saturday after the commission meeting if they do the right thing and that is forward Dr. Smibert’s name to the Governor for approval."

So what happens if the M-E's commission does not chose Siebert? The 14th Judicial Circuit will be without a Medical Examiner. Either the commission or State Attorney Steve Meadows could appoint a temporary M-E, while a new search begins for a permanent hire.

But Siebert says people outside of the state are gun-shy of applying because of the political nature of the commission and his treatment.

In the meantime, bodies requiring autopsies will have to be sent to Tallahassee or Pensacola.
This could cause delays in criminal investigations.

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