DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Volusia County is denying allegations by the outgoing medical examiner -- who was on the job for just a month -- who said the office has potentially dangerous conditions.

  • Volusia medical examiner resigns after just 1 month
  • Sara Zydowicz said working conditions were dangerous
  • Volusia manager says county was blindsided by resignation

From more staffing to a new morgue cooler to a new facility, outgoing Medical Examiner Sara Zydowicz says her requests to make changes weren't met with a satisfactory response.

In the letter to the district medical examiner, Zydowicz wrote that daily work at the office at times isn't possible, and the risk of critical error is too high.

She also said the morgue cooler is consistently over capacity, the office is critically understaffed and there's a backlog of some 200 cases.

But the county manager has shot back, saying the county was blindsided by Zydowicz's resignation because he said her resignation letter didn't state any of the things she alleged.

"Not one thing did she ask for did we not approve everything she asked for," Volusia County Manager James Dinneen said.

"If this was that serious, why would you never tell us what the concerns were?" he said.

Dinneen said the county approved $5 million to get Zydowicz more technicians and assistants. Part of that money was also to start designing a new building for the Medical Examiner's Office, he said.

The county said another problem facing the office is a backlog of cases. For now, it has a third-party medical examiner coming to do a forensic look into their staffing issues.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood said there has been an impact, with 52 cases from his office needing attention.

"The backlog delays justice, and it's an insult to the human dignity of the families that are depending on that office to perform the duties that need to be done."

The Medical Examiner's Office also has a new temporary cooler on the way, and the county plans to break ground on a new facility in 2019, Dinneen said.