Former Lubbock official, topic of El Paso public hearing - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/23/10

Former Lubbock official, topic of El Paso public hearing

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Source: El Paso Times Source: El Paso Times

By James Clark | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock's former Deputy Medical Examiner is himself under examination.  Dr. Paul Shrode is accused of lying on his resume while here in Lubbock to get a job in El Paso. El Paso County held a hearing on the issue Monday, as part of a County Commissioner's Court meeting.

Elizabeth Gard says Dr. Shrode took more than 70 days to do her husband's autopsy.  After that, Gard claims she learned that she was lied to about the reason for the delay. In a passionate plea Gard said, "I made 17 calls to the Medical Examiner's office saying, ‘Please, I need the death certificate. I can't collect the life insurance without it.'"

 "‘Well, we're waiting on toxicology,'" Gard quoted Shrode's staffers as saying.  "Seventeen times I was told this, over two and a half months.  I was lied to repeatedly."

In the hearing, Shrode's resume was closely examined.  The county Human Resource director, Betsy Keller, said she was unable to verify that Shrode had a law degree as his resume had stated.  Instead it was determined that he took some law courses at Southwest Texas State University

"The other issue on the resume; Dr. Shrode states [he was] Deputy Medical Examiner, Lubbock County Texas 2004 to present," Keller said in the hearing. 

Keller further stated, "We were able to confirm that those were the duties performed during that time frame, but he was actually employed by Texas Tech who was contracted by Lubbock County to perform these services."

Keller said Shrode was allowed to have letterhead while at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center that referred to him as the Lubbock County Deputy Medical Examiner.   Keller did not say so but during the time in which the TTUHSC did autopsies for Lubbock County, local officials referred to Shrode as the Deputy Medical Examiner.  TTUHSC no longer provides autopsy services for Lubbock County and denies that a challenge to the legality of the University's agreement with Lubbock County was the reason for stopping.

Including Mrs. Gard, three people called for Shrode to be fired from El Paso.  Among them is attorney and political candidate Teresa Caballero. 

"You are sweeping this under the rug," said Caballero.  "Please don't do this anymore.  It is hurting this community.  Lying on a resume is an open and shut deal.  The man gets fired.  He doesn't have the dignity to resign.  He needs to be fired.  You need to set the example for the rest of the community in terms of ethics."

Shrode did not attend the hearing.  However, several officials at the hearing defended Shrode saying he simply embellished his resume and was already admonished not to do so.   Among Shrode's defenders was Holly Lytle, El Paso County Assistant Attorney. 

Lytle was able to provide evidence in Shrode's defense concerning some but not all of the allegations.  For example, Lytle was able to prove Shrode had done nothing illegal or improper in obtaining a copy of the last will and testament of Gard's husband.  Lytle was also able to refute charges that Shrode's office had violated the Texas Open Records Act. 

El Paso County took no official action Monday but will revisit the issue after the Texas Medical Board has a chance to investigate.

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