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Cook County Board to question Cina, Preckwinkle’s pick for medical examiner

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
by LISA DONOVAN

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s pick for chief medical examiner is expected to be in the hot seat Tuesday as he faces commissioners who are expected to vote on the hire later in the day.


In addition to making his case for the job, Dr. Stephen Cina, a Miami forensic pathologist, will be grilled on a range of issues during the afternoon confirmation hearing.

Members of the county board say they’re concerned about Cina’s frequent job changes, his demand for a 30 percent raise — to $300,000 — over the salary paid to Dr. Nancy Jones as medical examiner, his plans for additional staffing and the consulting firm runs as a side business.

Earlier this month, Preckwinkle nominated Cina after he won the support of Dr. Edmund Donoghue, who was medical examiner before Jones.

Cina has had a 20-plus year career in Texas, Colorado, Wyoming and Florida. He is associate medical director at the University of Miami Tissue Bank.

From 2007 to 2011, he was deputy chief medical examiner in Broward County, Fla. Earlier this year, he lost a bid for the top job at the Fort Lauderdale office.

The confirmation hearing is set for noon Tuesday.

Cina, 47, has been meeting privately with commissioners in recent weeks, making his case for their confirmation.

After his nomination was announced, Cina said he had some “big ideas” and that “I am aware of the challenges, but nothing is insurmountable.” Since then, he has declined to make any further public comments or do interviews.

The county morgue has been under fire since January, when the Chicago Sun-Times revealed bodies were piling up at the West Side facility and staffers were complaining about the stench and bodily fluids pooling on the floor. That triggered a state labor department investigation.

Jone ended up announcing her retiremen, and her top deputy was forced to resign.



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