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December 13, 2013

To test or not to test

NORMAN — A proposal by a state legislator to make elected officials pass a test before being able to take office doesn’t pass the smell test.

Voters get to grade elected officials every few years. We’re not sure what purpose an exam would serve other than to weed out candidates who haven’t a clue about the duties of a specific office.

Those candidates don’t usually get too far. Elected and appointed county officials who take the initiative and attend state schools to keep up with changes in laws, budgeting, open records, administrative procedures and other issues are in better standing with voters.

Rep. Marty Quinn, R-Claremore, said the testing idea came from a constituent.

“I think the constituents expect you to have some kind of proof that you not only left your office to go have training, at the end of the day you walk away with something that proves you retained a certain level of that,” Quinn, R-Claremore, told the Associated Press.

State law requires county officials to take continuing education but there is no enforcement mechanism and not all county officers participate. Training compliance is higher for county clerks and treasurers and lower for county commissioners and sheriffs.

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