COAL TOWNSHIP - Leo J. Mirolli Jr., of Coal Township, a certified paramedic and licensed funeral director, has announced his candidacy as a Republican for Northumberland County coroner.

Mirolli, 42, a lifelong resident of Northumberland County, attended Kulpmont Elementary School and is a 1989 graduate of Line Mountain High School and Northumberland County Vocational-Technical School. Mirolli also attended Shamokin Area Middle and High schools and Mount Carmel Area Junior-Senior High School.

Mirolli earned his certification as a paramedic in 1994 from the Center for Emergency Medicine of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, and his funeral director license from Northampton County Community College, with an associate in applied science degree in funeral service education in 2007.

He has been married for 11 years to the former Kelly Donkochik, and has four children: Leo III, Logan, Leah and Luke.

Mirolli is very active with the Mother Cabrini baseball organization as the team manager of both the minor and major teams. Mirolli has been coaching area youth for many years and also sits on the board of directors as vice president. In addition, Mirolli has been vice president of the Mount Carmel Area Junior Baseball League (MCAJBL) for the last two years.

Mirolli said he can bring more than 25 years of experience in public safety along with over a decade of supervision and management experience to the coroner's office.

"The job of coroner is critically important. It requires a specialized knowledge and exceptionally high level of professionalism. My many years of medical experience, professional training and desire to serve my community have led me to make this commitment.

"The coroner must act without fear, favor, prejudice, bias or partiality toward anyone. The coroner performs a public duty and his actions and decisions affect the public interest. He must accept professional responsibility toward society in matters of public health, safety and legislation affecting community health and well-being.

"If elected, I will move the coroner's office in a new direction," he said.

He said he will be a dedicated, full-time coroner. He said the current position pays $53,000 plus benefits, and questioned the need for two part-time county coroners collecting a combined salary of more than $24,000 plus benefits that exceed $26,000.

"In this time of economic uncertainty, I think it's important for all areas of government to tighten their belts and be more fiscally responsible," he said.

He said that while he is a licensed funeral director, he is not a funeral home owner, which eliminates any potential conflicts of interest in carrying out the coroner duties.

"I envision a coroner's office that is proactive in working to prevent the loss of life. I will bring my life experiences to the office, and will show the utmost respect for the deceased and compassion for the families," Mirolli said.