Best-Managed Government Office

St. Louis Medical Examiner

You'll never hear any complaints about this St. Louis government office, at least not from the people it was designed to serve. Yes, it is kinda hard to bitch when you're dead, but still, and that's not the only reason the St. Louis medical examiner's office gets our vote. It has a professional staff, low turnover -- among the employees, if not the clients -- works within a tight budget in an antiquated building and has carefully catalogued a rich St. Louis history through death certificates dating back about 150 years. How'd they do it? The St. Louis coroner system was scrapped and, with it, its reputation as a political-patron repository. And Dr. Michael Graham, the medical examiner, is one of the most respected forensic pathologists in the country. At every level, his staff display sensitivity and detachment in performing their difficult job of figuring out a person's cause of death. Sometimes they help solve crimes, sometimes they give a homeless body back a name and sometimes they bring a measure of peace to grieving families. If only all government offices were as efficient as the Grim Reaper.

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