LACOMBE, La. - It may be his first official day on the job, but Dr. Charles Preston has already been in the St. Tammany Coroner’s Office building for two weeks, which he showed off to the public during his swearing-in ceremony Monday.
The toxicology lab is one of the highlights of the building, which is something Preston wants to show off to the world because it’s barely been seen at all.
Putting the facility on display is one of several things Preston has already done as the new coroner. He said, "I have been trying to familiarize myself with the operations of the office and the status of the office right now including the budgets and the capital projects that we need to look forward to. I've been talking to parish council members about upcoming issues that we'll be addressing."
And he’s been trying to address the perception of both the building and the office after former Coroner Peter Galvan’s guilty plea to misusing tax dollars.
"The more that we can get the message out that this office is doing just fine, it's not embattled, it's not crumbling,” he said. “It's a state of the art facility full of hard working, dedicated employees that are doing an excellent job and have been doing an excellent job."
Those dedicated employees are now working with smiles on their faces more often. "It’s a breath of fresh air, and it’s about time," said Rebecca Caminita.
As for the public, who put Preston in charge, he welcomes them to what he calls their office.
He said, “This office belongs to the people of St. Tammany Parish and we intend to continue to work very hard for the people of St. Tammany Parish and that this physical facility will be available to the people of this parish."
Preston’s term continues into 2016.