After the Adams County coroner told Broomfield County last week that her office will no longer provide services to Broomfield, officials announced Wednesday the two agreed to a contract.
The Broomfield City Council approved continuing the contract with Coroner Monica Broncucia-Jordan, but raised questions on her role in investigating the Aug. 30, 2019, death of Elijah McClain after being violently arrested by Aurora police.
Broncucia-Jordan, who’s been Adams County’s coroner since 2011, told the council in a letter Dec. 17 she would not renew the contract because Broomfield’s elected leaders “expressed a clear lack of confidence” in her office during the City Council meeting. Broncucia-Jordan did not attend the meeting.
Broomfield announced late Wednesday evening that Broncucia-Jordan agreed to the 2021 Intergovernmental Agreement to provide coroner services for Broomfield. She will attend the City Council’s Jan. 12 meeting “and be available to dialogue with city councilmembers,” according to Broomfield.
“We are eager to nurture this long-standing partnership,” Mayor Pat Quinn said in a statement. “We are working from a place of positive intent to ensure our lines of communications are open and enhanced.”
The contract with the Adams County coroner was initially on the consent agenda to be approved at the Dec. 10 study session, but Councilmember Deven Shaff asked to put it on the business agenda for discussion. Shaff said he had been reading articles and reports of McClain’s death, and as he was preparing for the meeting he felt the need to ask some questions of the coroner.
He was curious about the coroner’s involvement with the investigation into McClain’s death, if there was a conflict of interest in the case, if there was a meeting between the person who performed the autopsy and the coroner and whether the coroner’s office met with the Aurora Police Department before or during the autopsy. He wanted more information on the cause of death, concluded to be undetermined, and why the coroner’s office did not seek a second opinion.
“I didn’t expect to get answers to all of these questions, but I wanted to at least understand the situation better and understand Broncucia-Jordan’s involvement and her offices involvement,” Shaff said in the meeting. “I do have some concerns with how this was handled. There are a lot of question marks there.”
At least four other council members agreed with Shaff’s points, but acknowledged a need for a coroner in the meantime.
In Broncucia-Jordan’s letter announcing she would no longer provide services, she wrote she was never contacted by Broomfield regarding any questions it had about her office’s investigation into McClain’s death and only learned of the concerns from an “article in the media,” The Denver Post reported.
“I find the lack of communication from Broomfield Council and the discussions at the Council meeting completely unprofessional,” she wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Post. “Without confidence in the services my office provides to your community, I have elected not to renew the Broomfield Coroner services (intergovernmental agreement) for the year 2021.”
Quinn, in a letter to Broncucia-Jordan’s office shared with The Post, apologized for the way the council handled the discussion.
“Unequivocally, you and your office should have been afforded the opportunity to respond to Council’s comments,” the mayor wrote.
The public is invited to join the virtual City Council meeting Jan. 12. The meeting will be on Channel 8 and on Broomfield.org/CityCouncil.
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