St. Tammany Coroner remains mum after calls for him to step down

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 8, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 8 at 7:41 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

SLIDELL, La. – Dr. Peter Galvan, the embattled coroner of St. Tammany Parish, has refused to comment since the parish council asked for his resignation at a meeting Thursday night.

The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office has now joined the investigation into accusations of questionable spending in his office.

In addition, the parish council is preparing legislation to clamp down on how tax dollars are spent by Galvan’s office.

Friday, Galvan reportedly spent the day at his private practice in Slidell, seeing patients for internal medicine needs.

Thursday night he was a no-show at the parish council meeting where resolutions were passed that called for him to step down and pay back about $175,000 that he allegedly paid himself in unused vacation and sick time.

The council also asked the State Attorney General’s Office to help the parish get records from Galvan to show how he is spending the $4 to $5 million a year in tax revenue.

Eyewitness News tried to question Galvan about the investigation, but he refused to meet with reporters and someone in his office called sheriff’s deputies to keep the media out of the parking lot.

Meanwhile, Mandeville State Representative Tim Burns said he has begun drafting legislation to reel in the spending at the coroner’s office.

“He may have exceeded his legislative authority,” said Burns. “We have both a bill and a resolution that would really transfer the power – including the power to set salaries – and make the financial decisions, back to the parish council.”

What some are calling an abuse of power by Dr. Galvan is apparently not sitting well with many residents of the parish, including elected officials.

“It sort of makes not only St. Tammany look bad, but all elected officials,” said Burns.

An attorney for Galvan did not return calls, but sent a letter to the parish council in which he said Dr. Galvan would discuss the allegations at “the proper time.”

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