State close to hiring chief medical examiner

After going for more than a year and a half without a chief medical examiner, the state is on the verge of hiring someone, but it wants to offer the candidate more money.

The Department of Health says it's in salary negotiations with a top applicant for the chief medical examiner's job, but state officials don't have a lot of bargaining power. Spokeswoman Annemarie Beardsworth says it's a problem of supply and demand.

"There are not a lot of people that meet the qualifications to be a medical examiner," she says. "So we have a very small pool of people to potentially draw from."

Beardsworth says Rhode Island's offering about the same pay as other New England states. But the Ocean State doesn't make it easy to earn extra money as a consultant. So, it's asking to raise the medical examiner's salary by $17,000, bringing it up to $227,000 a year. The pay raise must be approved by the state Department of Administration.

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