Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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April 29, 2016

Sullivan’s Salvos     5/3/16

In this edition:

*Happy Mother’s Day!
*Medical Examiner
*Democratic Party Hall of Fame
*Did You Know?

*Happy Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8. I know that this is a difficult day for many people, and I want to respect that. Yet I feel the need to talk about a special person in my life.

I want to wish a particularly Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom, Susan Sullivan Smith, and my wife, Melissa Fath. One is a birth mom, one is an adoptive mom – both are amazing people who have touched many lives.

         I sometimes wish people could actually see how amazing Melissa is. We’ve had over 40 foster children over the years, and she has never missed a beat once. Melissa has done all that parenting, while at the same time doing full time cancer research. She is truly incredible!

         Last year at this time, I was afraid I might lose her. Melissa was fighting cancer, and we did not know exactly what to expect. Thank God things went well, and this Mom-of-all-Moms is still with us today!

I hope all the moms out there have a wonderful day! You deserve it! Thanks for all you do!

         As you may know, I am running for reelection to the Board of Supervisors. One of the things candidates do is seek endorsements. It is an old advertising technique, and a fairly transparent one at that. But the technique survives because it works!

         Endorsements provide an extra level of information for voters. They serve to connect the dots for voters who do not know candidates personally. They give voters an idea what candidates are all about.

         The organizational endorsements I have thus far include: Iowa City Federation of Labor, CR and IC Building Trades, Teamsters, Laborers, Carpenters, SEIU, AFSCME, AFGE, and IBEW.

         It is hard for me to imagine endorsements that could mean more. Groups of average working folks who come together for the common good… how could a candidate wish for anything better? I am extremely proud of these endorsements!

*Medical Examiner
         The Board recently received the annual report from the Johnson County Medical Examiner’s Office (JCME), and it contains some very interesting information.

         First, some background: Counties are responsible for providing the Medical Examiner’s services. (In some states, they are called Coroners.) The job of these offices is to determine a scientifically based cause of death for every death in the jurisdiction. Some of these deaths are deemed to be “in the public interest”, and therefore require a higher level of scrutiny.

“Deaths in the public interest” include accidents, homicides, suicides, deaths that occur in facilities, and deaths where no physician was present. The “public interest” can mean many things, but the primary goals are to ensure that we know exactly what happened. Then insurance, law enforcement, etc. can react accordingly.

         According to Iowa law, the jurisdiction where the death occurs is responsible for the investigation. This is where things get interesting for Johnson County! Because of the presence of UIHC, the VA, Mercy, and two interstate highways, Johnson County investigates an inordinate number of deaths. Many people, regardless of where they lived, drew their final breath in Johnson County. That makes their case a Johnson County responsibility.

         Because of this, Johnson County investigates the same number of deaths as Polk County, and far more than any other Iowa jurisdiction. In 2015, there were 1,705 deaths in Johnson County. The JCME reviewed 700 of those, or 41%. Of those, 334 were declined. 366 were accepted as “deaths in the public interest”.

         143 of the 366 were Johnson County residents; 181 were residents of other Iowa counties; 26 were out of state; and 16 were Department of Corrections.

         171 of the 366 accepted cases were accidents; 150 were natural causes; 33 were suicides; 5 homicides; and 7 undetermined.

         The number one cause of death is falling. This is particularly true for senior citizens, but also affects younger people.

         Johnson County has one of the best teams in the whole country, and that is not hyperbole! All our investigators are certified by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, a standard achieved by very few jurisdictions. In addition, we are one of the rare jurisdictions with a Board Certified Forensic Pathologist… and we have two! Doctor Dennis Firschau is certified in Anatomical, Clinical, and Forensic Pathology by the American Board of Pathology. Doctor Marcus Nashelsky holds the same credentials; in addition, he is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Medical Examiners, and he was the 2015 President of the association.

         Perhaps most importantly, ME Administrator Mike Hensch is an acknowledged national leader in ME services, particularly in the area of organ and tissue donation.

         I hope you and your family do not require the services of the JCME. But if you do, rest assured that you are dealing with the very top professionals in the field. I am so very proud of the JCME!

*Democratic Party Hall of Fame
Save the date! The Johnson County Democratic Party is holding our Annual Hall of Fame Awards event on Saturday, May 7 at 7pm at Brown Deer Country Club in Coralville.

Please join us for coffee, desserts, and plenty of old war stories! A cash bar will be available. Parking is free.

The Hall of Fame inductees for 2016 are: Pauline Taylor, Beverly and Dog Jones, and Eileen and Peter Fisher. We hope you can join us in recognizing this remarkable group!

Tickets are available for a $25 suggested donation. People who cannot afford that amount should still feel welcome, but please call 354-7199 so we can get a count.

Sponsorships are available at the following levels:
$100         includes two tickets
$250         includes 4 tickets
$500         includes a whole table (8 tickets)

Checks can be mailed to:
Johnson County Democrats
PO Box 1773
Iowa City, IA 52244

If you have any questions, please contact Rod Sullivan at 354-7199 or We hope you will join us for a fun evening, and lend your voice to those who are honoring these very deserving people. We look forward to seeing you!

*DID YOU KNOW?  Most deaths are reported on Mondays. This is likely due to people failing to show up at work or school, and family/friends/coworkers checking up on them.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned.

If you do NOT want the weekly E-mail, simply reply to this message, and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

If you know anyone else who might be interested, just forward this message. They can E-mail me at with "subscribe" in the subject line.

As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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