Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner Mark Fajardo will resign from his position atop one of the country’s busiest coroner’s office, his office announced yesterday.
“I can confirm that he is submitting his letter of resignation today,” coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said early this afternoon. Winter did not say when the resignation would become effective.
In media interviews, Fajardo cited understaffing of his department as a contributing factor in his decision to leave. Officials in Riverside County said late today Fajardo will become coroner there, returning to the position he held before leaving for Los Angeles County in August 2013.
Fajardo’s resignation comes amid heavy scrutiny of his department, according to KCAL9, which broke the news of his resignation and noted that there have been complaints about mismanagement of the toxicology lab.
KCAL9 reported that some 400 cases are backlogged, with issues such as drug and alcohol analyses being delayed, which is holding up the determination of criminal cases.
Fajardo downplayed the problems in his interview with the Los Angeles Times, saying understaffing that prevented the department from doing its job properly was the primary reason for his leaving.