PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Big decisions lie ahead for the next Allegheny County Executive, but none may be more difficult than choosing the next Allegheny County Medical Examiner.

The man holding the title right now has earned praise, but a big name from the past also wants the job.

With victory comes tough decisions, but Allegheny County Executive-Elect Rich Fitzgerald says he welcomes them.

“Those kind of problems, if you call them problems, are good problems to have,” he said.

One of the tougher ones will be appointing the medical examiner – choosing between the current, Dr. Karl Williams, and the former, Dr. Cyril Wecht.

“We have two very good people interested in the position,” said Fitzgerald. “Karl Williams, by all accounts, has done a pretty good job. Cyril is a national figure, international figure, so we’re lucky to have him here in Allegheny County.”

Wecht was forced to resign after federal agents seized records from his office and he was later indicted on corruption charges.

But after a hung jury, a mistrial, most of the charges thrown out by a judge and the remaining ones dropped, Wecht says he wants the job back.

“It’s far more than just being restored to a position that was rightfully mine, which I would be enjoying today if I had not been forced to resign, think of it that way,” said Wecht.

Williams, who declined to be interviewed for this story, said only that he will rest on his accomplishments, which include supervising the modernization of the new crime lab and clearing up a backlog of unexamined evidence that had piled up in the old one.

Fitzgerald says this and all other appointments will be made on the basis of merit.

“I want to have people in place who know how to run a department, how to do it well, efficiently and provide the public the best service we can provide them,” Fitzgerald said.

Whatever decision Fitzgerald makes will likely rankle the support of the losing candidate, but making tough decisions comes with the turf of becoming the chief executive.

Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office
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