Plans for the Pierce County Council to confirm the appointment of a new medical examiner at its Feb. 4 meeting ended up being dead on arrival. That’s because the man chosen to be the new head of the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office has decided not to take the job.

“He has withdrawn his acceptance letter,” Councilmember Doug Richardson said of Dr. Mark Fajardo.

Instead, the council voted 6-0 (Councilmember Marty Campbell was not in attendance) against approving Fajardo as the county’s new medical examiner per Proposal No. R2020-10.

Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier announced in December plans to hire Fajardo, who is currently the chief forensic pathologist for the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner in California.

The reason for Fajardo’s withdrawal was not discussed, and Richardson indicated the matter would be referred to the Feb. 10 meeting of the Rules and Operations Committee and be brought up again at the council’s regularly-scheduled Feb. 11 meeting.

County officials have since announced that Dr. Karen Cline-Parhamovich has accepted an offer to become the county’s next chief medical examiner, replacing outgoing Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark.

Clark announced his intent to retire following months of controversy in the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office, including workplace harassment complaints and claims of mismanaged death investigations.

In other business, the council confirmed the appointment of three new members to the Pierce County Tourism Promotion Area Hotel Commission – Michael Mann, Darshan Randhawa and Kelsey Geddes – via a 6-0 vote passing Proposal No. R2020-9.