Probably the dumbest headline I’ve seen this week was this one: “House panel moves to scrap education, experience requirements for coroners.”
Riiihhhgt… because that’s just what we need in the official who investigates unattended deaths in our counties — less expertise.
And the body of the story didn’t make a better impression than the headline:
An S.C. House panel Wednesday unanimously OK’d a proposal to scrap state laws requiring that county coroners meet education and experience standards.
State Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, says his bill strips “onerous” state laws that ensure only a handful of people in each county can run for the position.
“That’s not what elected office should look like,” Rutherford said, adding more qualifications are required of county coroners than U.S. presidents….
Let’s set aside the fact that this moment, when we’ve just elected the most outrageously unfit president in history, is not the best moment to tout the presidency’s lack of prerequisites… and move on to my point.
Which is this: The office of coroner is itself precisely “not what elected office should look like.” Coroner, a strictly technical, magisterial position that has nothing to do with politics, is precisely the kind of office that it is idiotic to fill by popular election.
If you want the job done right, you have the county administrator interview qualified candidates, and hire the person with the best experience and credentials.
You want to amend the law in a way that makes sense? Don’t dumb down the office in some misguided nod to democracy. Go the other way. Start by taking “coroner” off the ballot.