Quiz: Other than the normal responsibilities and duties one would expect a coroner to perform, what power does the county coroner have that no other county official has?

I noted that the county commissioners recently honored Kim Meyer on her last day as county auditor. She has to leave the office because she is term limited to two consecutive terms. So where will she be going? To the county auditor's office as a deputy. This is a common practice in county government with those who have to leave because of term limits. Former county clerk, Shelly Herbert, who also left because of term limits, is now the deputy clerk. This practice makes sense. Why not keep people like Kim and Shelly who are competent, qualified and experienced in the offices they know?

The question is, why are they term limited? Why do they and other county officials have to leave the jobs they have gotten to know and are good at?

A better question, why are they elected in the first place? Why not hire competent people and keep them in those positions as long as they are doing the job?

These are not political positions. No one cares if the clerk, the auditor, the treasurer, the surveyor or the coroner are Republicans or Democrats as long as they are doing the job. They have no power to pass laws or ordinances. They have no power to raise or lower your taxes. (Incidentally, you don't have to be a surveyor to be the county surveyor not do you have to have any medical training or experience to be the coroner. Congratulations! You are qualified!)

County council members and county commissioners are not term limited.

The system, along with the antiquated township trustee system, is a hold over from the 19th century spoils system. When Mitch Daniels was governor, he, through what became known as the Kernan-Shepherd Report, proposed sweeping changes to bring county government into modern times. It got nowhere in the legislature. It is more than time to revisit these reforms.

Quiz answer: The coroner can arrest the sheriff. Really.

Elten Powers

Pleasant Lake

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