Pulaski County Coroner Gary Carmack resigned his position as coroner Monday afternoon via email to the Pulaski County Commission.
County commissioners held an emergency meeting Tuesday morning to accept Carmack's resignation. The Daily Guide broadcasted the meeting live on our Facebook page and that video is available to view at any time on the page at https://www.facebook.com/WaynesvilleDailyGuide/videos/1512840278837634/ .
Carmack's letter to the Commission was short and reads, "Dear sirs, this is a letter of resignation from my position as Pulaski County Coroner, effective immediately. Due to health reasons of which are personal, I am not able to continue this job. I do regret the necessity. Sincerely, Gary Carmack. November 6, 2017."
Carmack was the center of some controversy in August when the County Commission discussed reports that he wasn't "showing up for calls," according to the County Commission and Pulaski County Sheriff Jimmy Bench.
Carmack announced publicly on social media at that time that he was going to resign after the allegations about not showing up for calls were made, but changed his mind.
Carmack said, in a Facebook post following the allegations, "I am remaining as coroner and I am asking to be placed on the agenda at the next commission meeting to answer the accusations, of which very much lack veracity."
Pulaski County Sheriff Jimmy Bench confirmed the commissioners report during August saying that he was aware of three recent calls where Carmack didn't respond and he was also unaware of anyone officially named as a deputy coroner. Bench said he had fielded calls from other agencies who were unable to reach Carmack so had called Bench instead.
Carmack told commissioners that he had only missed one call, when he appeared at the County Commission meeting, and that Captain Linda Burgess, of the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department, had handled that call for him.
Carmack's resignation won't disrupt coroner service in Pulaski County, Presiding Commissioner Gene Newkirk said during Tuesday's emergency meeting. St. Robert Fire Department Chief Mike Shempert was named as assistant coroner by Carmack, after the allegations that he wasn't showing up for calls were made.
Shempert will remain assistant coroner and will continue to serve as coroner until the governor appoints a new coroner, according to Newkirk. Shempert arrived at the meeting Tuesday to discuss the issue with commissioners.
Shempert said he didn't want to be appointed as coroner himself, but would be glad to continue as assistant. Newkirk said that he didn't know who would be appointed as coroner and.
County Clerk Brent Bassett was unsure as to whether the governor would appoint someone to finish out Carmack's term or if an individual would be appointed until the next election cycle.
Newkirk told reporters following the meeting that he and Bassett had been on the phone with various government entities concerning Carmack's resignation trying to figure out the next steps. Newkirk said he would be giving an update at the commission meeting on Thursday. The Daily Guide will be present at the meeting and broadcast it live on Facebook.