Slidell doctor is fourth candidate in coroner’s race

A retired Slidell physician has jumped into the race for St. Tammany Parish coroner, according to political consultant James Hartman.

Chuck Preston, who is certified in emergency medicine, is the fourth candidate to say he wants to replace Peter Galvan, who resigned in the fall after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit theft.

Qualifying for the April 5 election runs from Wednesday through Friday of next week.

Preston, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, will make a formal announcement Thursday, Hartman said.

Slidell gynecologist Robert Muller, Mandeville psychiatrist Leanne Truehart and Slidell primary care doctor Adrian Talbot also have announced their intention to run.

Pramod Menon, a cardiologist, is serving as interim coroner. The Parish Council voted in November to appoint Menon but stipulated he could not seek the permanent office.

The Parish Council is to vote Thursday on setting a salary for the elected position.

Galvan earned $203,547 per year as coroner, but lavish salaries were one of the issues at the Coroner’s Office under Galvan, and the Parish Council has been reining in salaries since the Legislature passed Act 181, which gave the council more authority over the office’s finances.

A proposed resolution on the Parish Council agenda does not mention a salary figure, but Parish Councilman Gene Bellisario predicted the amount will be between $100,000 and $150,000.