After five years as Grays Harbor County Coroner and 40 years in public service, Dan Burns has announced he’ll retire from the Coroner’s Office effective June 1.
“My decision to retire was made after discussions with family and friends and I decided that now is the right time to retire,” Burns said. “My wife, Lorene, and I are ready to spend more time with our children and four, soon to be five grandchildren.”
The Burnses will stay in the Grays Harbor area, he said, where they’ve been since 1975 when Burns was assigned to the area as a Washington State Patrol trooper.
“We’re going to some vacationing, some traveling and do the things you do in retirement,” Burns said.
He served as a trooper for 25 years before joining the Grays Harbor County Coroner’s Office.
“It was quite an honor to get Police Officer of the Year (in 1996) from The Daily World,” Burns said. “My law enforcement career was challenging, at times exciting. When I compare that with the job of the coroner, I think this job here is more of a rewarding job, because you’re there to help the families when they’re going through some difficult times.”
Burns became interim Coroner in 2009 and was later voted in for a full term.
“It’s quite an honor, at least I look at it that way, to get elected to a position,” Burns said. “It’s definitely a highlight for me.”
Burns’ term expires at the end of the year. He plans to recommend Chief Deputy Coroner Lane Youmans to serve as coroner in the interim.
Burns said Youmans has his support and the experience necessary to take the job on a permanent basis, but the decision on who will take over the office until the November election will fall to the Grays Harbor Democrats and the County Commission.
As with the vacancy caused by County Prosecutor Stew Menefee’s retirement last year, the party will provide a list of three candidates to the commissioners, who will chose the replacement.
That process has been mired in controversy for months, with still no permanent appointment.
Asked if the issues with that appointment process has given him any concern, Burns said, “Lane is by far the most qualified candidate that I know of currently here in the county. No, I don’t have any concerns there.”
Youmans is a former Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office detective and has been with the Coroner’s Office for seven years.
“He knows the responsibilities of the Coroner’s Office very, very well,” Burns said.
Burns said there won’t be any specific retirement function, but people are welcome to “stop by and say hi” May 12 through 16.
That’s also filing week for anyone who wants to run for county office. For elections information, call the Grays Harbor County Auditor’s Office at 360-964-1556 or visit 1.usa.gov/R49fPd.