Walworth County Coroner

By Mike Heine/The Week

(Published September 11, 2006, 10:08 a.m.)

The Walworth County Coroner's Office has not been the hotbed of political debate and scandal as has been the case in other Wisconsin counties recently.

Still, two Republican challengers say it's time for a change.

Csaba G. Keller and Steven G. Richard Sr. both said incumbent Republican John T. Griebel has done a good job, but he's served long enough.

Griebel, 71, is seeking his 24th term in office. He is the longest-running elected official in the state, having been coroner since he was elected in 1960.

"I'm interested in the job and I'm capable of doing it and want to just keep doing it," Griebel said.

Keller has lived in the Walworth County area for 33 years and has been a deputy medical examiner in Kenosha County.

"I'm sure (Griebel) does a pretty good job, but he's been there long enough," Keller said. "I would apply what I've learned (to the post). My other jobs as a law enforcement officer, police chief and deputy medical examiner apply to the Walworth County Coroner's Office, hopefully so it can work the best it can."

Richard is also relying on his background to show he's a worthy candidate. He is a former Marine, auxiliary police officer and is currently a firefighter and emergency medical technician for the city of Elkhorn.

"I just want to give it a chance," he said. "I just get satisfaction out of helping people."

It's no secret that Walworth County is a growing community, but each candidate agrees that it is not time for a full-time medical examiner.

"I expect it to do so, but not today or tomorrow. One of these days," Griebel said, referencing the not-so-distant future. If it keeps going on the percentage basis that we have, we're going to have to look at that. It's a possibility, but I can't tell you when."

Richards said a medical examiner would mean autopsies could be done locally, but said it might not be worth the cost.

"It depends on the community. How many deaths do you have that you feel warrant or need an autopsy?" Richards said.

Things in the county seemed to have gone smoothly using a part-time coroner and deputy coroners, Keller said.

"At this point things seem to work just fine so why change things?" Keller said.

Being a politically affiliated position has no real bearing on how the job is done, Keller added.

"Once you're in that position, it doesn't matter. You're independent," Keller said. "You're there to provide an independent service, whatever your political views are."

John T. Griebel

Age: 71

Address: W5301 Briarwood Road, Elkhorn.

Job: Walworth County Coroner

Education: Elkhorn High School; multiple death training schools/trainings/seminars.

Community service: Past president, Elkhorn Lions Club; Elkhorn Community Development Committee (defunct). Elkhorn Fire Department and Rescue Squad (retired after 34 yrs).

Elected posts: Walworth County Coroner, 1960 to present; Justice of the Peace, 1956-60.

Csaba G. Keller

Age. 45

Address: W5900 Brick Church Road, Fontana.

Job: Campus Safety Supervisor, George Williams College, Williams Bay.

Education:

Community service:

Elected posts: none.

Steven G. Richard Sr.

Age: 43

Address: 412 W. Centralia St., Elkhorn.

Job: Maintenance supervisor, U.S. Post Office, Elkhorn.

Education:

Community service: American Legion, Elkhorn Fire Department and Rescue Squad

Elected posts: none.

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