Two candidates are contending for the position of Clearfield County Coroner. Republican Kim Shaffer-Shaffer Snyder of Sandy Township and Democrat Olivia A. Cutler of Clearfield are vying for the four-year position.
Shaffer-Snyder was appointed to the post by the Clearfield County Commissioners in January 2018 to fulfill the unexpired term of former coroner Mike Morris, who was elected as a magisterial district judge.
The coroner, which is an elected position, is responsible for investigations of deaths to determine cause and manner of death occurring within Clearfield County, as required by law. This year the position has an annual salary of $45,339.30.
Both Shaffer-Snyder and Cutler provided information on their qualifications and why they want to serve.
Shaffer-Snyder: “The coroner is a 24-7, 365 days per year job. The coroner’s office investigates hundreds of deaths each year. I have been part of the (coroner’s) office for 25 years. I have the qualifications, experience and dedication to serve residents of Clearfield County and continue the long tradition of professionalism, existing in the office for decades.
“I have worked in the Clearfield County Coroner’s office since 1994, both as a deputy and the coroner. I would use my experience and familiarity with the region, emergency responders, law enforcement and court system to continue to serve the residents.
“I am a life-long resident of Clearfield County, a graduate of Penn State University with a degree in business administration. I completed the state’s coroner education course in 2013 and take every opportunity to learn. My goal is to continually learn and to lead by example.
“I have many years of experience working with the Clearfield County Court system. Prior to being appointed coroner in 2018, I spent 24 years in the district court at DuBois.
“The coroner’s office has responded to 188 cases since I was appointed. The office is a busy one and we must continue to strive for improvement and efficiency. My vision for the office is to provide timely, professional service to Clearfield County residents, while maintaining respect, dignity and compassion for the deceased and their families. I am a good steward of the taxpayer’s resources without loosing sight of the facts I work for and serve the people of Clearfield County.
“As coroner, I am involved with the Clearfield-Jefferson Drug and Alcohol Commission and I am in contact with the Clearfield-Jefferson Suicide Prevention Team. I believe my experience and dedication to the position, county and its residents makes me the best candidate for the job.”
Cutler: “Currently the coroner’s office is a reactive position. When a death occurs in Clearfield County, the coroner will react by investigation. As the next coroner I intend to transform the position into a proactive office where the coroner and deputies participate in community education and death prevention.
“The office is about serving families at one of the hardest times of their lives and at times serving justice to protect the community. I am aware I am a young candidate, but I am qualified and dedicated to serving the county.
“My qualifications for coroner are substantial and essential. I graduated from State University of New York in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology accompanied by a focus in bio-medical anthropology and community health. On top of this I have community health experience which focuses on the physical and mental well-being of people in a region.
“I have recently completed the practical nursing program at the Clearfield County Career and Technology Center. I attained my nursing license in July within weeks of graduating from CCCTC. I am currently certified in HIV/AIDS peer counseling and at-home infectious disease self-testing. When performing the coroner’s main duties and implementing my plan on education, the knowledge I gained studying topics such as human osteology, U.S. politics, drug studies, philosophy of human nature, and human disease will benefit me. I believe being coroner is an opportunity to use all of the knowledge I’ve acquired throughout my education and transform it to fit the coroner’s position.
“If the coroner’s job encompasses death, then it should also encompass death prevention. I am dedicated to being the next coroner because I believe there should be more involvement in the county while completing current duties more efficiently with compassion and integrity. As coroner I will be heavily involved with education in communities, revolving around topics such as suicide prevention, drug use intervention and prevention, and fall risks in our senior community.
“The coroner’s election goes beyond who has experience and is most qualified. The issue is what voters want for the county, whether they want the coroner to take a more proactive role and make changes benefiting communities. I am committed to bringing these changes to our coroner’s office in regards to death prevention. Suicide is preventable. Overdoses are preventable. Accidental deaths are preventable. Therefore it’s time we demand more participation in education throughout the county. In turn taking measures to prevent death lowers costs for the coroner’s office and overall costs to the county.
“I vow to be a highly visible, approachable, and compassionate coroner Clearfield County deserves.”