By HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
A Pulaski Countian is bringing more than 30 years of experience in emergency services to the table as the newly appointed county coroner.
Charles “Chuck” E. Godbey was sworn in as Pulaski County Coroner Thursday morning by Pulaski County Judge-executive Barty Bullock.
“I didn’t want anybody who had to do with any funeral home or the coroner’s office or with any law enforcement,” said Bullock, when asked why he chose Godbey for the position. “I wanted someone completely neutral.”
Godbey will serve the remainder of former coroner Richard New’s term, who resigned this week after pleading guilty to more than 26 counts of theft stemming from his former employment at Lake Cumberland Funeral Home. The current coroner’s term will end on December 31, 2014.
Godbey said Bullock approached him about the position, and he stated he took some time to think about the new job — and accompanying challenges — before ultimately accepting the position.
“I told him (Bullock) I would give it careful consideration, talk to my family, pray about it ... we finally got a clear answer,” Godbey said. “As of yesterday (Wednesday), we took it.”
Bullock said New resigned from his position as coroner on Wednesday afternoon. Deputy Coroner Jim McWhorter, who served under New for numerous years, tendered his resignation as well, according to Bullock.
Godbey, who is a Science Hill resident and a Baptist minister, has more than 30 years of experience in emergency services and is the retired assistant chief of Somerset-Pulaski County EMS. Godbey said he officially retired in January of 2010, but he’s stayed busy teaching EMT classes and filling in for EMS services in Casey County.
“Quite frankly, I kind of missed the public service,” Godbey said. “I feel better doing something with the people.”
Now, Godbey, who will undergo additional training as part of his coroner’s duties, is looking at everything from a much different perspective than what he’s used to.
“I’m on the other side of that fence,” said Godbey. “ ... Normally I used to call the coroner when there was nothing I could do.
“Now they will be calling me,” Godbey added.
Godbey said he’s ready to begin his coroner’s duties — although it’ll be a wholly new experience for him.
“It’s going to be different and it’s kind of exciting,” Godbey said. “I’m really looking forward to at least getting my feet wet in it.”
Bullock said he ultimately came to his decision to approach Godbey about the position after he fielded interest from numerous people about the job — one that New had served in for nearly a decade.
“Lots of people showed interest and it was a tough decision, it was a hard decision to make,” Bullock said. “I think the world of them, and I think they all could’ve done the job.
“I just wanted to find somebody who was totally removed from everything,” Bullock continued. “And I think I found him ... I think he (Godbey) is going to work out great.”