Brian Frist sent a short letter to County Commissioner Tim Lee and County Manager David Hankerson on Friday to announce he would leave the position in September.
“I will be retiring as of September 30, 2014. As a result, I resign my position as Chief Medical Examiner on September 30th 2014,” Frist wrote in his resignation.
Robert Quigley, a spokesman for the county, said he could not comment on the event.
“It is the county’s practice to not discuss personnel matters,” he said.
County commissioners were supportive of Frist and his department during the presentation of a report written by the county’s internal audit department that pointed out 27 recommended changes to the medical examiner’s office in April.
But one man’s bad experience with the office, which spurred the audit, has since spiraled into a negative reaction from the public to questions the audit raised about Frist’s $475,500 contract and possible abuse of county facilities.
The audit was triggered by a complaint from Tom Cheek, who was upset about the way the office handled the death of his son, who died in a 2012 fire.
Frist has been the county medical examiner since 1999, and was an associate medical examiner for 10 years before that.
Cobb is one of only five counties in Georgia that has a medical examiners in place of a coroner, according to a presentation given to the Cobb commissioners in April by Latona Thomas, who heads the county’s audit department.
The tasks of each position are similar, but a coroner is an elected official who must live in the county and is not required to be a physician because they do not perform forensic pathological services.
A medical examiner is an appointed position and is required to be a physician, but does not have to live in the county.
Frist’s contract is worth $475,500 a year, which he splits with three part-time employees. When asked, he said he did not know how much goes to him directly as salary. The contract at one time included salary for other staff members, but those are now paid by the county.
Frist also performs autopsies independently, which he profits from. He is allowed free use of county facilities and also uses county employees who are off the clock. The use of employees and facilities was not monitored by Frist, according to the audit.