Jacksonville Medical Examiner subject of complaints

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville Medical Examiner Valerie Rao has been the subject of recurring complaints from her co-workers dating back to 2009.

According to letters sent to the the city, "Rao has been seen touching cadavers with her bare hands, washing her feet in the autopsy sink, and performing unnecessary autopsies on inmates to create a revenue stream."

The allegations don't stop there. City workers say she's called staff members rednecks and referred to others as being overweight, among other derogatory descriptions. There are 17 city workers who work under Rao, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott.

"Our No. 1 goal is to have the best Medical Examiner's Office possible, so we took steps over the last six to eight months and in March, putting in a plan to help them work through those issues that have come to through the workforce of the Medical Examiner's Office," city spokesman David DeCamp said.

DeCamp said the city has started studying options to privatize the Medical Examiner's Office. He said the city has been aware of the complaints for more than a year. More than a million dollars worth of improvements to the building are also being considered.

"We're not making this about personalities, but about efficient management," DeCamp said. "That's why we are looking at privatization of the office, funding, providing the resources to have the best ME's office we can."

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