YORK -- For the first time in two years, Doug McKown and the state Attorney General's office agreed on something.
Both said Monday that McKown is York County's coroner.
On the same day McKown resumed the coroner's duties, the attorney general's office -- the same agency that took McKown to court on drug charges -- released a written opinion that said McKown could take over his elected post.
The document answers the question York County officials have been asking since McKown was acquitted of felony cocaine charges May 24.
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McKown had been suspended from office since July 2006, when he was indicted on two felony cocaine charges. Gov. Mark Sanford appointed Sabrina Gast to the office in September of that year. She was to hold the position until McKown's charges were resolved.
But when jurors found McKown not guilty of three cocaine charges 10 days ago, they found him guilty of unlawfully possessing a prescription drug, a misdemeanor offense stemming from half a pill of Viagra police found while searching McKown's home on May 12, 2006.
County officials didn't know if the conviction would prevent McKown from taking office and asked the state attorney general's office for help.
The answer was sent to the county on Monday: "McKown's conviction for such offense would not prevent him from regaining his office upon acquittal of the other offenses," the document states.
McKown said Monday that he was "thrilled" to be back in office, although his attitude was somewhat somber.
"The last two years have been a very emotional period for me, and I've probably cut up more than I should have just to keep from crying," he said. "Right now, I've got to finish this job that I was elected to do. I'm serious about that, and I always have been."
Until his suspension, McKown, 39, had been York County's coroner since he was appointed to the post in 1994. Now, he's trying to adjust to the office again.
"I just want to ease back into this," he said, adding that his chief deputy will temporarily handle the day-to-day operations. "I'm gonna just take a good look at what's gone on the last two years."
After moving out of the office, Gast, who is running for coroner as a Republican, said she'll now focus on campaigning and her part-time job with the countywide Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program.
During her time as coroner, Gast said, she learned the job is about developing public trust.
"I'm very proud of what I accomplished in my time there at the office," she said. "I was able to bring integrity and responsibility and professionalism to that office."
When asked if he would seek re-election as a petition candidate, McKown said he would make an announcement about that subject later this week.
To get his name on the November ballot, McKown would have to get at least 5 percent of the county's registered voters to sign a petition asking for his name to be placed on the ticket.
That would mean getting more than 5,000 signatures by noon July 15, said Wanda Hemphill, director of the York County Registration and Elections Office.
The coroner serves a four-year term and is paid an annual salary of $63,521.36.