Amherst town clerk is not above the law
The New York State Health Department’s policy, which Amherst Town Clerk Marjory Jaeger cited as her legal defense to her action of denying a copy of the death certificate to Lois Reid, states: “Who is eligible to obtain a death certificate copy? The spouse, parent, child or sibling of the deceased. Other persons who have a documented lawful right or claim …”
Jaeger, instead of following the policy she referenced, made up her own policy. Her policy is to issue certificates to a government entity, but not to a person. As you can see above, it should be issued to a person.
Reid’s claim was in the New York State Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds. The Comptroller’s Office issued a letter to Reid that documented her lawful right and claim. In April, Reid presented the comptroller’s letter and all other necessary documents to Jaeger’s office, which copied all the documents but refused to give Reid the certificate.
Two different judges ruled in Reid’s favor. Yet, Jaeger continued to follow her own policy, which conflicts with the state and town policies. Elected officials should follow the written law.