By J. Lynn West/News-Exchange
It has only been a little more than a week since Union County Medical Examiner-Investigator Mark Golding resigned following the revelation that he is under investigator by the state auditor’s office, but as of Monday, eight people had expressed interest in replacing him.
Two of those had actually qualified: Rob Anderson, who is serving as interim coroner, and Lisa Taylor Galloway of Myrtle. Others will be named as they formally qualify.
The election will not be until Nov. 5, and it won’t be the only race on Union County ballots.
Also to be chosen are the Third District Election Commissioner and the Fourth County School District trustee.
At the first of this year, supervisors appointed Barbara Ann Reed as interim District Three Election Commissioner November special election.
The appointment was necessary because the District Three winner in the past November election, Rank Boyte, resigned for personal reasons immediately after winning. Supervisors accepted his resignation and then appointed Reed, who is Boyte’s daughter.
No one ran against Boyte, who sought the post vacated by Frances Dunlap upon her retirement. The other new election commissioner was Bill Azlin, who defeated incumbent Lanelle Hudson for the District Two seat.
The remaining three incumbents were unopposed. They are Graham Spencer, District One; Mike Beam, District Four; and Wayne Wilhite, District Five.
Precincts in the Third District to vote in this race are 301 King’s Chapel, 302 Courthouse, 303 Central Maintenance and 304 Beacon Hill.
At about the same time, Union County school trustees appointed Daphnia McMillen as interim District Four school board member. She filled the slot left vacant by Robert Hogue, who ran unopposed for the office but could not serve because his wife is a teacher in the school system.
The Fourth County School District does not include the same area as the Fourth Supervisor’s District and includes all or parts of the precincts 301 King’s Chapel, 302 Courthouse, 304 Beacon Hill, 401 Blue Springs, 402 Hillcrest Church, 403 Center and 502 Keownville.
So far, Reed has qualified as candidate for the election commissioner’s seat she is temporarily filling. No one else has qualified for the election commission race or the school board race.
The qualifying deadline is not until Sept. 6.
To qualify for the election commission or school board, a person much be a qualified elector of the supervisor’s or county school district in which he or she is running and present a petition supporting candidacy signed by at least 50 qualified electors.
To qualify for coroner, a person also must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Additionally, upon election, he or she must successfully complete the state’s death investigation school. There is limited opportunity to re-take the course if the person does not pass it the first time, but that involves appointing an interim coroner.
The role of the coroner changed considerable in 1986 when the legislature updated the law governing duties of the office. Before then, when a death occurred the coroner would, sometimes hastily, gather a six-person coroner’s jury, tell them what he thought the cause of death was, and they would vote and rule on the spot.
A coroner is now more properly referred to as medical examiner if he or she is an M. D. or Osteopath. A non-physician coroner is a medical examiner-investigator.
The law also now expanded and spelled out the circumstances in which an investigation was required.
Any death that “affects the public interest” now requires investigation.
• Violent death, including homicidal, suicidal or accidental death.
• Death caused by thermal, chemical, electrical or radiation injury.
• Death caused by criminal abortion, including self-induced abortion, or abortion related to or by sexual abuse.
• Death related to disease thought to be virulent or contagious that may constitute a public hazard.
• Death that has occurred unexpectedly or from an unexplained cause.
• Death of a person confined in a prison, jail or correctional institution.
• Death of a person where a physician was not in attendance within 36 hours preceding death, or in prediagnosed terminal or bedfast cases, within 30 days preceding death.
• Death of a person where the body is not claimed by a relative or a friend.
• Death of a person where the identity of the deceased is unknown.
• Death of a child under the age of two years where death results from an unknown cause or where the circumstances surrounding the death indicate that sudden infant death syndrome may be the cause of death.
• Where a body is brought into this state for disposal and there is reason to believe either that the death was not investigated properly or that there is not an adequate certificate of death.
• Where a person is presented to a hospital emergency room unconscious and/or unresponsive, with cardiopulmonary resuscitative measures being performed, and dies within 24 hours of admission without regaining consciousness or responsiveness, unless a physician was in attendance within 36 hours preceding presentation to the hospital, or in cases in which the decedent had a prediagnosed terminal or bedfast condition, unless a physician was in attendance within 30 days preceding presentation to the hospital.
• Death that is caused by drug overdose or which is believed to be caused by drug overdose.
• When a stillborn fetus is delivered and the cause of the demise is medically believed to be from the use by the mother of any controlled substance as defined in Section 41-29-105.
According to statute, the chief county medical examiner or chief county medical examiner investigator may receive from the county in which he serves a salary of $ 900 per month plus expenses and $125 for each completed death report. A deputy medical examiner may receive up to $900 per month plus fees as well. Extra fees apply in certain types of death investigations as well.