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Top pick for medical examiner drops out

Dr. Michael Steckbauer, interim medical examiner for the Florida Keys, now is the one remaining candidate to run the state’s District 16 Medical Examiner’s Office, based on Grassy Key.
Dr. Michael Steckbauer, interim medical examiner for the Florida Keys, now is the one remaining candidate to run the state’s District 16 Medical Examiner’s Office, based on Grassy Key. Keynoter

The interim medical examiner for Monroe County now stands as the lone candidate to take over the position.

Dr. Michael Steckbauer, a Davie resident who has worked in the past with the Florida Keys medical examiner’s office, was the second-ranked pathologist picked by the 16th District Medical Examiner Nominating Committee after interviewing four candidates for the permanent position earlier this month.

Dr. Cameron Snider, the leading choice of the Monroe County committee, withdrew his application last week.

“It was an issue of cost,” County Attorney Bob Shillinger told Monroe County Commission members July 19.

Snider is the associate medical examiner for the district covering Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach.

Snider told Keys nominating committee members that “he needed to hire a couple of medical technicians, legal people and acquire a [body] transport van for the Upper Keys,” Monroe County State Attorney Dennis Ward said Tuesday.

When advised Monroe County would likely not approve Snider’s draft budget for the Keys medical examiner’s office, Snider “decided it was not the position for him,” said Ward, nominating commission chairman.

Monroe County’s current budget, negotiated by the medical examiner, is around $686,000 annually. That includes all salaries and expenses for the office that performs autopsies in criminal cases and unattended deaths.

Under Florida law, the top two candidates for medical examiner in a Circuit Court district are nominated by a local committee, then reviewed by state Medical Examiners Commission. Gov. Rick Scott makes the formal appointment.

State Medical Examiners Commission chairman Dr. Stephen Nelson, who served on the local search committee, told Ward that since one of the top two ranked pathologists remains, the county does not have to forward another candidate.

Dr. Thomas Beaver, who took over as Monroe County medical examiner in 2014, in May was denied a renewal nomination by the state commission after several local officials, law-enforcement agencies and funeral-home operators objected to his reappointment. They cited as among the main issues lack of developing relationships with other agencies.

Steckbauer has been working as the Keys interim medical examiner since June 30, Beaver’s last day. His resume lists work as an associate medical examiner in Miami-Dade, Broward and Duval counties, and the Caribbean. Steckbauer serves as a major in the U.S. National Guard.

Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206

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