Two vie for the Greene County Clerk of Courts


By Merrilee Embs - membs@aimmediamidwest.com



Williams

Williams


Pauwels


XENIA — Current Greene County Clerk of Court AJ Williams is being challenged by Cyndi Pauwels on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Yellow Springs resident AJ Williams was unanimously appointed as the Greene County Clerk of Courts by the Greene County Commissioners Dec. 19, 2017. Williams’ appointment came after Clerk of Courts Terri Mazur’s decision to retire from the position after 21 years of service.

Pauwels served as a police and fire dispatcher, assisted in the jail and also served as an in-house deputy court clerk in her previous work experience.

Below are the answers to Greene County News contested race questions:

Greene County Clerk of Courts

Cyndi Pauwels

Date of birth: Sept. 26, 1958

Why are you the right candidate for this seat?

“I bring unparalleled knowledge and experience to the Clerk’s office.

In many ways, I’ve been training for this position since I was a Police Explorer in high school. I’ve served as a police and fire dispatcher for many years including in Cheyenne, Wyo., when my husband was stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base. I’ve booked female prisoners, accompanied on transports, and assisted in the jail so I understand corrections. I’ve worked with juvenile court to help children in trouble get their lives back on track, so I can navigate social services. As in-house deputy court clerk, I certified affidavits and reports. And I spent more than six years as a deputy clerk in the federal courts handling appeals cases and the civil and criminal caseload for several judges and magistrates, so I know court procedures at multiple levels.

Of all positions in local government, the clerk of court should be non-partisan. It’s not a legislative or policy-making office, and it shouldn’t be simply a stepping-stone in a political career. The court isn’t a business; it’s peoples’ lives. I’m the only candidate with the essential insight and understanding of how the court system works, and experience matters.”

What is the most important issue facing this office going forward and what solutions do you have to offer voters for this issue?

“Trust. Right or wrong, the courts – criminal and civil – have gained a reputation of selective justice. Too often it seems that if you have the money, you can make bond and get out of jail. If you have a great lawyer, you can win on a technicality. For the rest of us, with little money and no connections, court can be an overwhelming, intimidating experience. A study by the Ohio Department of Corrections discovered that almost 35 percent of those in local Ohio jails haven’t been convicted of anything; they simply can’t make a cash bail. We shouldn’t be running debtors’ prisons.

And after the recent fiasco in Kentucky over something as simple as a marriage license, it’s understandable that people don’t trust the system to treat everyone fairly on even everyday matters. That needs to change. From the time an individual first appears in court, they need to be assured that their rights will be protected at every stage.

By providing fair, equal access from the first moment an individual is involved in a court proceeding, and by offering information and resources to help them deal with the situation effectively — from public defenders to social services — the clerk’s office can offer a positive first impression, and a less stressful experience, to all Greene County residents.”

_____________

AJ Williams

Date of birth: Aug. 21, 1984

Why are you the right candidate for this seat?

“I believe that my combination of education and career experience make me the ideal candidate for this position. During my years in undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Dayton, I was able to work with the Dayton Civil Mediation Center where I gained first hand experience with real life interactions between the courts and the public they serve. I also served with the planning and citizen participation department which helped me further understand the crucial relationship between government and its citizens.

After completion of a master’s degree in public administration, I served with the Office of Ohio Secretary of State, working closely with twelve boards of elections and representing the office to the voters therein. Subsequently, I was hired as chief deputy to the Greene County Recorder. Serving in that capacity for three years has left me with an intimate knowledge of our County operations procedures.

The position afforded the opportunity to work closely with our esteemed elected officials and directors who work diligently for our county everyday. With the retirement of former Clerk Terri Mazur, I was unanimously appointed by our Greene County Commissioners, as well as the Republican Central Committee, a very humbling honor. Ms. Mazur dedicated many hours during the transition period and has passed on invaluable institutional knowledge. I have been in Office for nearly one year and we strive every day to run the most efficient and professional office possible.”

What is the most important issue facing this office going forward and what solutions do you have to offer voters for this issue?

“Keeping up to date with evolving technologies would serve as the most important issue facing this office. The ultimate focus of this office is to keep the records of the Greene County Court of Common Pleas, to keep these records accurately and with public transparency. In our office, our documents are imaged and indexed into a computer software program. This program must be continually maintained and updated in order to achieve accurate records.

New technologies such as electronic filing have become very popular within the Judicial process and we must be mindful of these advances. While I was serving in the recorder’s office, I was tasked with creating a request for proposals for a new land records system to record and image deeds, mortgages, etc. The county recorder received several bids in response to this request and ultimately asked if we could create a better system ourselves.

I worked with our county’s data processing department on this development, and after many months, we were able to design and develop a very efficient and user friendly land records system. In so doing, the county recorder was able to save our citizens hundreds of thousands of dollars in software purchasing, maintenance, service, etc. This is the same approach I have brought to the clerk’s office when regarding new technologies. If we have the resources within the county, we are obliged to investigate those options before using tax-payer dollars to fund these very expensive software purchases.”

Williams
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2018/10/web1_williams.jpgWilliams

Pauwels
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2018/10/web1_Pauwels.jpgPauwels

By Merrilee Embs

membs@aimmediamidwest.com