Xenia moving forward with law department changes

By Scott Halasz - [email protected]

XENIA — City council Thursday began the process of changing Xenia’s Law Department.

Council previously announced it would not renew the contract of current Law Director Ron Lewis as it sought to better staff and run the department.

On Thursday, council unanimously authorized city leaders to contract an interim law director from the law firm of Pickrel, Schaeffer and Ebeling; consider candidates for the law director position; enter into discussions with Greene County and the City of Bellbrook to provide prosecutor services; and continue discussions with Lewis to provide prosecutor services for Xenia Municipal Court.

“The Xenia City Council has passed a series of motions in order to enable the City of Xenia staff to assist city council in proceeding to implement adjustments in the structure and staffing of the law department,” Council President Michael Engle said in a statement.

Last month, in announcing the non-renewal of Lewis’ contract, Engle said the changes will help “improve cost efficiency and enhance effectiveness.”

Lewis is looking forward to the switch, which will allow him to focus all of his attention on the criminal aspect of law.

“I am very excited about prosecuting full time,” he said Friday. “We’re still in the process of working out that agreement.”

Lewis has been law director and full-time prosecutor since the previous prosecutor left that position several years ago.

“I’ve been doing both jobs … for the past eight years,” Lewis said. “Given the increased demands on our office in the past couple years, it became necessary to split those roles. I was asked early on in our negotiations what I would prefer. My preference has always been … to remain the prosecutor. That’s my first love.”

Assuming an agreement is reached, Lewis will prosecute all cases in Xenia Municipal Court as well as Greene County and Bellbrook.

“I love representing our police department and all the departments that come through this court,” Lewis said. “I think it’s going to be positive for both sides.”

By Scott Halasz

[email protected]

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.