Commonwealth Journal

Local News

October 13, 2012

Godbey settling into new role as county coroner

Somerset —  

It’s rarely easy to just step right in to a new job and feel at ease.
It’s probably even harder when the circumstances surrounding your hire are, to say the least, controversial.
Yet that’s the situation Charles “Chuck” Godbey has found himself in over the last couple of weeks. And surprise, surprise — things have gone relatively smoothly.
“I’ve got good people here,” said Godbey, referring to the staff of the Pulaski County Coroner’s office. “They’ve helped me out a lot.”
Godbey was appointed to the position of county coroner late last month, being sworn in by Judge-Executive Barty Bullock on September 27. Though coroner is usually an elected position, the hasty move was one of necessity.
Richard New resigned the previous week after pleading guilty to 26 counts of theft stemming from his former employment at Lake Cumberland Funeral Home. 
Though the charges were unconnected to his role as coroner, New’s plea agreement dictated that he resign the office, in which he was serving his third four-year term.
That meant a replacement needed to be found swiftly, and it was Bullock’s job to find one. He tabbed Godbey, the retired assistant chief of Somerset-Pulaski EMS, to fill out the term. It was a move to ensure neutrality, seeking to avoid anyone connected with funeral homes, law enforcement, or the coroner’s office itself.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the house was cleaned. Though New’s deputy coroner Jim McWhorter also resigned, the new assistant chief deputy, Anthony Gossett, was moved up into the no. 2 role from a lower deputy position. He’s been an invaluable asset, according to Godbey.
“Anthony has some military experience and law enforcement experience; it’s been helpful on some of these accidents where we’ve had to have (law enforcement involvement),” said Godbey.

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