Macomb County commissioners demand answers from medical examiner
8:43 AM, Aug 16, 2013
MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (WXYZ) - The Macomb County Board of Commissioners is looking for answers from the county's medical examiner. They want to know why he refuses to show up to public meetings.
Dr. Daniel Spitz has been requested to appear six times at meetings held by the Health and Human Services Committee, but he has never showed up.
Commissioners want to ask him about his budget, workload, and how he has been prioritizing cases.
The board sent a subpoena to Dr. Spitz ordering him to appear at Thursday night's board meeting, but he did not attend.
Instead, a lawyer representing Dr. Spitz, Stephen Rabaut, spoke to the commission about the concerns he has about his client answering questions in public.
He said Dr. Spitz would be happy to answer their questions in a private setting, as long as the session was closed to the media and that no transcript be provided.
"His testimony could very well compromise ongoing investigations by law enforcement or the prosecutor's office, ongoing and future matters as to causation of death, and matters which could impact every prosecution which either the county prosecutor or other prosecuting agencies may want to bring when Dr. Spitz was involved," Rabaut said.
Many commissioners disagreed with the argument.
"To suggest that county business can somehow be done better behind closed doors, I absolutely reject that," said Commissioner Fred Miller. "Frankly, I find this unacceptable and I'm very much looking forward to when this contract will come up for review at the end of this year."
At least one commissioner recommended Macomb County not renew Dr. Spitz's contract.
"I think we should cease his contract when it expires and go on a nationwide search for a full-time medical examiner," Commissioner Robert Mijac said.