SF's chief medical examiner since 2015, Dr. Michael Hunter, is leaving the job for a major pay raise in San Joaquin County.
Fans of this genre of medical-related television may recognize Dr. Hunter from his role as host on the reality series Autopsy: The Last Hours of… on the REELZ network. He's been working on the program since around the time he arrived in San Francisco, and the show looks into the final hours of celebrities like John Candy, Rick James, Natalie Wood, and Bobbi Christina Brown, via their medical records.
Hunter parlayed his experience into multiple consulting gigs for TV prior to that gig, including for Anderson Cooper 360, The Nancy Grace Show, and TruTV. And he came to San Francisco from Jackson County, Florida, because he was attracted to the challenge of a massive backlog of cause of death rulings that the city had at the time — which was severe enough that the Medical Examiner's Office was close to losing its accreditation. As he told the Jackson County Floridian at the time, "I think I was just missing something and part of that was a new challenge. San Francisco offered that, and so it was a professional choice based primarily on the challenging opportunity it presented."
As the Examiner reports, Hunter is moving on to another professional challenge, but one that pays over twice as much. San Joaquin County will be paying him $985,740 for the first year of a four-year contract, and that's compared to the $439,000 he was making here in SF.
Also, his time in SF was not without its controversies, and the Public Defender's Office under the late Jeff Adachi questioned Hunter's leadership. As the Examiner tells us:
Danielle Harris, felony manager for the Public Defender’s Office, said the Medical Examiner’s Office has been “plagued with problems over the last decade, leading to chronic understaffing, loss of accreditation, politicized medical opinions and a disturbing lack of transparency.”
“We are looking forward to a new leadership committed to remedying these deficits so that San Franciscans can have the top quality, open and unbiased Medical Examiner’s Office they deserve,” Harris said.
An interim management plan is set to be announced within weeks, and a search process will be kicking off for a new chief medical examiner.