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Former employee speaks out about medical examiner

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Updated: 6/19/2013 12:16 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- A former employee in the medical examiner's office is speaking out to Action News.

Laurie Weinstein worked in the medical examiner's office for about two years under Dr. Valerie Rao.

"It was horrible. You never knew what she was going to say."

Weinstein says Rao was hostile, even verbally abusive about her weight. "At the time, I was very heavy, 300 pounds. She referred to me as a Big Mac," said Weinstein.

Weinstein's is just one of many complaints we found in new documents Tuesday. According to an internal memo from the city, Rao called an employee a "redneck" and violated city polices numerous times. In many cases, we found Rao was never disciplined. We even found the city looked at having Rao removed.

It all stems from years of complaints about Dr. Rao's unsanitary procedures, washing her feet in the autopsy sink, using bare hands during procedures, and even accusations of exposing doctors to deadly diseases.

We went to the mayor's office to find out what action is being taken right now.

"We're already working on improving the structure. There's $1.7 million in upgrades from the roof of the room," said mayor's spokesman Dave DeCamp.

DeCamp says their hands are tied because Rao is not a city employee, but one of the state. Decamp says that's why they're looking at changing how the office operates. They are going to do a study on whether privatization or another plan would work for the office.

Weinstein thinks that would help. But while she misses her job, says she won't go back while Rao is still there. "Not being with them, not being part of the team," said Weinstein.

Rao did not want to speak with us on Monday. She did not return calls Tuesday. She is up for reappointment by the governor. We're told there is no timetable on when that could happen.
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