County Job Opening: Removal of Dead Bodies

You can apply now for a two-year contract, but there is a long list of requirements.

Let's say you have a corpse on your hands (hate when that happens). Whose job is it to come pick it up, treat the remains with dignity and do with it whatever comes next?

If you think you'd be good at that job, opportunity is knocking. The Marin County Sheriff-Coroner's Office has a contractual opening for a company to handle human remain removals.

That includes massive variety of situations — from an elderly person peacefully expiring of old age to a drug overdose to a messy homicide scene.

Why is outsourcing necessary? For one thing, Marin County does not have its own morgue. Second, it's pretty much always been outscourced.

"This is well thought out, and it's more cost efficient for us to have it contracted out than for us to do it ourselves," Sheriff-Coroner Robert Doyle said. "There's been a change that has created an opening, and we're exploring our options. It's just good business practice to see if we can get the same or better service for less money."

Sgt. Keith Boyd, the assistant chief deputy coroner, said the contract with Eddie's Removal and Transport of Richmond is expiring. When the coroner's office was merged with the sheriff's office in January 2011, Eddie's received a short-term contract "to give us stability during our initial phase of assign control," Boyd said. "It's been a little over a year now and we have stabilized a few things. We have a better understanding of day-to-day operations of this office, and now we're looking at the contracts and agreements we have with vendors to make sure we're getting the best value for the community's dollar."

Boyd said the department conducts about half the autopsies the office used to perform because investigators have quick access to more health records. Many Marin residents receive excellent health care, and thorough documentation is available in the event of a death to allow the contracted physician to determine a cause of death, Boyd said.

In the past, the body-collecting duties have been handled by vendors who specialize in transporting bodies as well as mortuaries in various towns around Marin. The chore used to be handled on a rotating basis by local mortuaries, but it was discontinued due to lack of interest from the mortuary owners, Doyle said.

With the current contract expiring, at least one local mortuary is interested in sending in a contract proposal, the sheriff said. The application period is open and the contract would be from July 1 through June 30, 2014.

The job description? There is a lengthy list of operational, response and equipment requirements necessary to handle the duties. The contractor would provide personnel, protective clothing, gurneys and stretchers, facilities, a small fleet of vans, station wagons or converted ambulances and all other gear. Two people would be used on all calls outside of a hospital and be charged with tagging and transporting bodies to a refrigerated room at a mortuary. Bodies must be bagged if the deceased is suspected of being infected with a contagious disease.

"Body removals must be handled in a professional manner with appropriate consideration given to family and friends of the deceased present at the time of removal," according to the application.

All contractor employees would be subject to background checks and be strong enough to lift significant weight. Spot inspections would be the norm.

Sound like a job for you? Email Sgt. Keith Boyd at KBoyd@marinsheriff.org.

Shirley Humann Shanahan April 13, 2012 at 07:14 PM
There are more dead bodies with the County than you can count. Which floor do I start on?
Craig Belfor April 16, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Start with the Novato city council. Leave Eric and Pat. They're the only ones not on the take from developers.
Tamkea Washington April 16, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Dead bodies at Wyndover?


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