Chief Medical Examiner (#EP5300)
$0.00-$0.00 Hourly / $0.00-$0.00 Monthly / $0.00-$0.00 Yearly


Under administrative direction of the Health Care Services Agency Director, provides leadership and directs the functions of the Medical Examiner’s Office to include autopsies, external examinations, and medical record reviews; develops policies and protocols; and coordinates administrative activities with other divisions, departments, and outside agencies.


The Chief Medical Examiner is a single position class that is exempt from the San Joaquin County Civil Service system and is an at-will position. As described in County Ordinance Title 2, Division 2, Chapter 15, the incumbent serves as the legally designated County Medical Examiner, appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The Chief Medical Examiner is responsible for all operational activities and medical decisions made in the Medical Examiner’s Office and reports administratively to the Director of Health Care Services. The Chief Medical Examiner is a Forensic Pathologist responsible for cause and manner of death determinations, wound interpretations, autopsy strategies, test selections, and evidence collection. This class supervises the next lower class of Forensic Pathologist and is the Executive Manager of the Medical Examiner's Office.

Positions in this class are distinguished from other Physician classes and medical specialties in that this class requires specific training and experience in the specialty of forensic pathology that requires board certification in this specialty, as well as the performance of duties associated with the medico-legal investigation of death or injuries.


This specification is a general guideline for the class. The statements below are not restrictive, and the responsibilities and duties assigned to a position in this class require the full time focus of the incumbent and may expand beyond those identified in this specification. 

  • Plans, organizes, directs, and leads the activities and operations of the Medical Examiner’s Office to include independent, objective and timely medical, investigative, administrative and custodial functions; formulates and evaluates policies, procedures and establishes standards for conducting autopsies, ensures timely completion of autopsy reports, and reviews the work of medical and toxicological staff. 
  • Directs post-mortem pathological examinations and medical investigations; performs autopsies on homicides and other violent or questionable deaths; interprets reports prepared by staff pathologists, physicians and toxicologists; and completes death certification. 
  • Confers with medical and investigative staff to determine cause and circumstances of death; prepares and presents medical findings in court, to judicial agencies, legal representatives and other interested parties. Provides "On-Scene" consultation to investigators and other law enforcement agencies as needed. 
  • Develops and implements policies and procedures for forensic autopsies and assists with overall Medical Examiner death investigation policies and procedures; obtains/maintains national accreditation. 
  • Directs and ensures the preservation of physical and medical evidence in accordance with policy, professional standards and State regulations and ensures chain of custody. 
  • Provides advisory and consultative services to Agency staff, various governmental bodies, law enforcement agencies and to health service professionals. 
  • Supervises and trains staff of Forensic Pathologists, death investigators, autopsy technicians and other support staff; develops performance measurement system to ensure effective and efficient operations and staff accountability; ensures effective communication including regular staff meetings. 
  • Keeps informed of new and improved methods in forensic pathology and medicine, and instructs the professional and technical staff in such methods. 
  • Issues official statements and confers with news media concerning medical examiner’s cases. 
  • Performs related or other work as required.




      License: Possession of an unrestricted physician and surgeon license to practice medicine in the state of California issued by the Medical Board of California, at the time of appointment.


      Certification: A General Certificate issued by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic Pathology or Clinical Pathology; AND Certification by the American Board of Pathology in Forensic Pathology.




      License: Possession of a valid California driver’s license.


      Experience: Four years of experience in Forensic Pathology, two years of which must have been in an administrative capacity or a leadership role in a Coroner's Office, Medical Examiner's Office or a hospital.


      Statutes, ordinances, policies and regulations governing the operations of the Medical Examiner; procedures, techniques, and equipment utilized in forensic medicine, including medico-legal autopsy, forensic toxicology, ballistics/firearm examination, trace evidence, forensic serology, forensic anthropology, DNA technology and interpretation of histology and clinical chemistry necessary to determine the circumstances, cause, manner, and time of death; forensic evidence collection techniques and procedures; applicable laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents and government regulations; rules and regulations applicable to court testimony; principles and practices of administrative planning, organization, and directing; principles and practices of employee supervision and training; principles and practices of research, statistical analysis, record keeping and report preparation; basic computer and modern office automation technology and pertinent software programs; principles of public relations.


      Perform highly skilled post-mortem examinations; review and evaluate complex investigations, autopsy reports, evidence discovered at death scene and other specific findings to establish the cause of death; compose and articulate findings in Autopsy Reports, Court Proceedings and to various investigative staff and families; interpret and apply applicable federal, state, and local laws, codes, and regulations; establish and maintain effective work relationships with members of the legal profession, public, staff and governmental agencies; communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; testify clearly and concisely at public hearings, courts of law, and before the Grand Jury in a professional, neutral, and convincing manner; operate basic computer hardware and software.


      Mobility – standing or sitting for long periods, walking; occasional pushing, pulling, bending; operate a data entry device; Lifting – frequently 5 pounds or less; occasionally 5 to 75lbs; occasional lifting/turning of heavy objects or people; Visual – constant good overall vision and reading/close-up work; frequent color perception and use of eye/hand coordination; occasional use of depth perception and peripheral vision; Hearing/Talking – frequent hearing of normal speech, hearing/talking on the telephone, talking in person; Dexterity – normal dexterity with frequent writing and repetitive motion; Emotional/Psychological – constant concentration and public contact; occasional exposure to hazardous materials, frequent exposure to emergency situations, including trauma, grief and death, decision making; Special Requirements – may require working nights and weekends; Environmental – occasional exposure to noise, cold/heat, and hazardous materials, dirt, dust, smoke, fumes and poor ventilation; occasional exposure to varied weather conditions.

      San Joaquin County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and, upon request, will consider reasonable accommodations to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions.

      CLASS: EP5300; EST: 7/24/2018;