Dead men do tell tales

I recently spent a few hours with Dr. Karen Cline-Parhamovich and the Medical Examiner Team.  I learned that there is quite a bit you can learn from a decedent.  She considers herself a “family practice doctor to the dead,” and with her team of professionals, they diagnose the manner and cause of death.  Unlike most medical professionals, they can’t ask their patients questions to help in the diagnosis.  They must examine the decedent to solve the mystery of why and how they died.  And these answers are critical to bringing closure to families and sometimes helping solve crimes.

It seems fitting to take you on a tour of the Medical Examiner’s Office during “spooky season,” so take a look at this latest installment of “Inside Pierce County!”

My thanks to Dr. Cline and her team for the tour, and more importantly, for doing amazing work in what most of us would consider a very difficult job.  They play a vital role in our community and I’m grateful for their skill and dedication!

In the spirit of the season, I have another story to share. It’s about a haunted building.  Many of you “long-timers” will remember the old Puget Sound Hospital and its resident ghost, Mabel!

The Tacoma News Tribune wrote a story about the apparition that regularly appeared in what was once a behavioral health hospital.

The old hospital had been abandoned for years and we made it a priority on my arrival to the County to demolish the old hospital that was a magnet for bad and dangerous behavior.

That old, haunted spot has now come back to life as the new Puget Sound Communications Center (PSCC) – home to South Sound 911.  The building combines several SS911 locations into one integrated operation, a long-time priority in our community.

The ribbon cutting on the newly constructed PSCC was held last Monday and I’m proud that we delivered for the people of Pierce County.  Pierce County bonded the project and our good budgeting and financial management made our bonds very attractive – we were able to sell $52M in bonds for $59M – a $7M savings for the taxpayers of Pierce County!

And I was pleased to learn that old Mabel made the move to the new PSCC – with a conference room named in her honor.  I have heard the SS911 team has already noted some strange happenings in that room!

One last “treat” before I close: next Wednesday we are hosting one of my favorite nights of the year: the Employee Recognition event!  I regret we can’t be together in person, but I know you will be amazed and inspired by the work your County colleagues have done for the people of Pierce County over the last year.

You can join us on the livestream on November 3 at 6:30 p.m. at

And don’t forget the basket giveaway!  This year’s contest is open to all employees, but you must enter via  In all, twenty baskets donated by departments will be given away.

This year we are supporting My Sister’s Pantry. The Pantry serves over 350+ families and individuals each month and distributes approximately 125,000 pounds of food annually. Please consider donating when you enter the basket giveaway.

I hope you and the little goblins in your life have fun celebrating Halloween this Sunday and I will be back at work on Monday for Dia de los Muertos!

Stay safe out there this weekend,