ELIZABETHTOWN - A retired state trooper from Bloomingdale was sworn in as one of Essex County's four coroners Tuesday morning.
Francis Whitelaw fills the coroner post that became vacant after Robert Huestis of Willsboro passed away in October. The Essex County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved his appointment at a board meeting Tuesday.
Lewis town Supervisor David Blades led an interview committee appointed by the board's chairman, Jay town Supervisor Randy Douglas. Blades said five applications were considered, and three people were interviewed for the job.
Francis Whitelaw, right, takes the oath of office Tuesday morning after the Essex County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint him as county coroner. Also pictured are board Clerk Deb Palmer and Lewis town Supervisor David Blades.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Morris)
"All three were excellent, but one of them actually stood out a little bit beyond what the other two did," Blades said of Whitelaw.
Whitelaw retired from the New York State Police in January. He and his wife own Smokey's BBQ 911, a traveling barbecue food stand.
In January 2010, Whitelaw was honored by the Franklin County Traffic Safety Board for coming to the aid of a motorist in Saranac Lake. In December 2009 he used his patrol car to block a moving car, in which the elderly driver had become incapacitated. He used a defibrillator and first-aid to treat her, but she died later of a brain aneurism.
The hiring of Whitelaw pleased North Elba town Supervisor Roby Politi, who in 2011 expressed concern that communities in Essex County's northwest corner weren't getting coverage from the four elected coroners, who at the time all lived in the east side of the county.
The other county coroners are Kelli Valentine of Moriah, Walter Marvin of Elizabethtown and Paul Connery of Ticonderoga.
Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.