Governor will appoint successor to late Aiken County coroner

February 23, 2019

Tim Carlton served as the Aiken County Coroner for nearly 15 years prior to his death on Feb. 18.

The procedure to fill the vacancy he left is dictated by South Carolina law.

Based on that official course of action, Gov. Henry McMaster will appoint Carlton’s replacement.

Then the replacement will serve as coroner until voters choose a coroner in the 2020 general election and that selection qualifies for the position.

Aiken County’s Chief Deputy Coroner, Darryl Ables, has been acting as coroner since Carlton died and will continue to perform those duties until the vacancy is filled by McMaster’s appointment.

“Everybody is kind of watching and waiting at the moment, but the Coroner’s Office is still serving the public,” said Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker on Friday.

S.C. Sen. Tom Young, R-Aiken, told the Aiken Standard that he spoke with McMaster’s staff Friday morning.

Young is the chairman of the Aiken County Legislative Delegation.

“A decision on the appointment will be made sometime in the next few weeks,” Young said. “As it was explained to me by the staff, the governor will want to know if the delegation has a consensus on who the replacement should be.

“It is my intention to talk to members of the delegation next week – after Tim Carlton’s funeral this weekend – to inquire about that. But, ultimately, it’s the governor’ decision,” Young concluded.

The appointee will have to meet certain qualifications in regard to age, education and experience. There also are other requirements.

Carlton, 60, died after a two-year battle with cancer, according to a press release issued by Ables on Feb. 19.

A U.S. Army veteran, Carlton became a member of the Aiken County Coroner’s Office staff in 1998 and was elected coroner in November 2004.

The county is preparing to refurbish a building at the former Lower Savannah Pre-Release Center on Wire Road and turn it into a new Coroner’s Office headquarters.

The day after Carlton’s death, County Council unanimously approved the third and final reading of a fiscal year 2019 operating budget ordinance with amendments that included providing $50,000 for the architect and engineering services needed to design that facility.

Capital Project Sales Tax IV, which voters approved last November, will provide funds for the renovation.

“Tim was very much looking forward to being able to move into the new facility,” Bunker said. “It was something that he had been advocating for several years.”

Currently, the coroner’s administrative offices are at the Aiken County Judicial Center. The morgue is at Aiken Regional Medical Centers, and there is storage space for the Coroner’s Office at the county’s Emergency Medical Services headquarters on York Street.

Carlton’s funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Lakeside Baptist Church in Clearwater.

The church’s address is 4280 Jefferson Davis Highway.