Maine medical examiner cited ‘short season of decomposed bodies’ in 2017 job posting

Courtesy of Boston University's School of Medicine
Courtesy of Boston University's School of Medicine
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The Maine medical examiner's office used a bit of gallows humor in a 2017 job posting touting the cold, coastal state as a good place for forensic pathologists to work, citing a “really short season of decomposed bodies."
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AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine medical examiner’s office used a bit of gallows humor in a 2017 job posting touting the cold, coastal state as a good place for forensic pathologists to work, citing a “really short season of decomposed bodies” while many others are “lost at sea.”

It was the subject of yet another complaint on Thursday to Attorney General Aaron Frey from Rep. Jeff Evangelos, I-Friendship, against Dr. Mark Flomenbaum, the chief medical examiner, after the lawmaker initially asked Frey’s office to review Flomenbaum’s credibility in March.

Flomenbaum was seeking a deputy medical examiner when his office posted an online job ad in August 2017. It starts like a normal bureaucratic job posting, saying it presented “a wonderful opportunity to do excellent forensic pathology that is supported by a low stress and high level quality-of-life environment” at an annual salary of up to $172,000.

Later on, it touts benefits of living and working in Maine, calling the state “a winter mecca for skiers, snowmobilers and other sportsmen.” It is followed by a macabre parenthetical in bold: “Translation: really short season of decomposed bodies.”

It also touts “vast waterways,” joking that “many bodies are lost at sea or wind up in either New Hampshire or Canada.” It notes Maine’s relatively small and sparse population, saying “only the bodies that really need to come in for autopsies will do so.”

Earlier this week, Frey’s office agreed to add a contested claim by Flomenbaum’s office that alcoholism contributed to the death of a Massachusetts hiker earlier this year on the Appalachian Trail to that review after a Bangor Daily News article cast doubt on the finding.

Flomenbaum was appointed to his position in 2014 by then-Gov. Paul LePage, but his position is based in the attorney general’s office and it carries a seven-year term. He was supervised at that time by Gov. Janet Mills when she served as the state’s top attorney.

Flomenbaum and spokespeople for Frey and Mills did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the job posting on Thursday afternoon.

The initial complaint against Flomenbaum in March was prompted by a 2016 letter from a Connecticut prosecutor to Mills alerting her to testimony that Flomenbaum gave as a defense witness in a child manslaughter case in that state that was deemed “not credible” by a judge.

Evangelos added to his complaint on Monday after the BDN article on Massachusetts hiker Jeff Aylward, a 63-year-old diabetic found dead in his tent near Rangeley in August. Flomenbaum’s office ruled that he died of a heart condition and cited alcoholism as a contributing cause, though two experts said alcohol found in his blood was caused by the body’s decay.

On Thursday, Evangelos added the job posting to the complaint, saying it is “beyond sick and makes jokes and light about deceased Mainers.” Frey’s office said earlier this week it plans to complete the review “in the near future.”



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