The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders voted Feb. 18 to establish a shared services agreement with Monmouth County to regionalize all Medical Examiner operations, utilizing Middlesex County’s state-of-the-art facility.
As part of the agreement, Monmouth County will pay Middlesex County $1.4 million annually — or $14 million over the life of the agreement — to perform all operations, including investigations of all unexplained natural deaths and violent deaths in order to determine cause and manner of death, according to a statement prepared by the Middlesex County Freeholders. The office also preserves evidence, analyzes physical evidence and provides expert testimony in courts of law.
The agreement, effective April 1, will be in place for 10 years. The arrangement will save Monmouth County more than $1 million over that term, officials said.
Since 2009, Middlesex County has performed all administrative oversight of Monmouth County’s Medical Examiner services.
“In building on that initial partnership, we will make better use of our state-of-the-art facility and increase our revenues for the next decade,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “Our staff, under the supervision of our Medical Examiner Dr. Diane Karluk, has done an outstanding job in providing these very specialized services for our county and will now use that expertise to serve Monmouth County.”
“State statute permits the regionalization of medical examiners offices, so we are taking advantage of our geographic proximity to merge with Middlesex’s state-of-the-art facility,” Monmouth County Freeholder Deputy Director Serena DiMaso said. “We have been working with the Middlesex office for the past seven years, so we know that this merger will work for both counties.”
The Monmouth County Freeholders adopted a resolution on Feb. 11 to formalize the arrangement. The Middlesex County Freeholders adopted their similar resolution on Feb. 18.
“Monmouth and Middlesex began this partnership with a shared service agreement in 2009,” Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone said. “The success of that arrangement has led both counties to commit to a 10-year merger for this necessary service.”
The Middlesex County Office of the Medical Examiner is located in North Brunswick.
“Middlesex County has a long tradition of partnering with other entities for shared services agreements that make both financial sense and improve or increase services,” said Middlesex County Freeholder H. James Polos. “We constantly look for ways to work with municipalities, counties and even the State to serve our residents in the most efficient and effective way possible.”