Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Winnebago Coroner Barry Busby announces retirement; supervisors move ahead with censure

In an emotional address that touched on his career, the experience of recovering the bodies of dead children and the challenges of dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, Winnebago County Barry L. Busby announced that he will retire Oct. 31.

Busby revealed his plans to the Board of Supervisors as it prepared to take up a resolution of censure and no confidence. The resolution was adopted 29 to 1 with 5 abstentions.

The resolution came after weeks of investigation by county officials, who focused on three areas of concern:
  1. Extended absences by the coroner in 2018 and 2019, some of which were documented through records of Busby’s county-issued cellphone, which showed that he was making or receiving calls from out of state for most of the last winter.
  2. Higher county expenses because of the need for deputy coroners to “cover Coroner Busby’s absence, incurring a cost to taxpayers because deputies are paid on a per diem basis with additional expense reimbursement.”
  3. Sexual harassment allegations “leveled against Mr. Busby, some of which Mr. Busby does not deny.”
The coroner, a Republican, has served in that office for 22 years and earns an annual salary of $72,989. He oversees a budget of slightly more than $500,000 and is assisted by three part-time workers: an administrative associate and two deputy coroners. A website biography says Busby worked in the Oshkosh Police Department for 27 years and retired as a sergeant. 

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