MANDEVILLE, La. -- There are now three names in the running for interim coroner in St. Tammany Parish.
The parish council has two more days to collect applications for someone to run the coroner's office until a special election.
One day after former Coroner Peter Galvan pleaded guilty to corruption charges, the list of potential candidates for that election, expected in April, grew to include someone who weathered the recent controversy storm from inside the coroner's office.
"It has been extremely difficult for the employees,” said Dr. Leanne Truehart, “They are very relieved that this ordeal is over. During this time over the last year, they have endured a tremendous amount of frustration, anger and uncertainty."
Truehart is a psychiatrist and the mental health director at the coroner's office. She said the medical community and her family pushed her to go for the top job and she already has her priority list in order if elected.
"Politics and personalities are in the past,” she said, “Now, it’s time for professionalism and public service."
Dr. Robert Muller, a former assistant coroner in St. Tammany in the '80s and '90s, is also seeking the elected position. However, he has also submitted his name for interim coroner, in case the parish chooses to allow the interim coroner to run for the office later.
But both of them agree big changes are needed and having the parish as an overseer is welcome.
"They have been very helpful throughout this and they've had to maintain a distance because of the legal nature and political nature of what has happened and I am eager, if elected, to enter into a new chapter with the parish and the parish council," Truehart said.
Parish leaders took part in a staff meeting at the coroner's office Thursday morning to reassure the employees that the office's future will be different, regardless of the leader.
The parish is asking for St. Tammany physicians interested in helping as interim coroner to submit their resumes by the end of business Monday. The council has 20 days from Galvan’s resignation to choose the temporary replacement and set a date for the special election.