While the big draw at the voting booth on November 6, 2012 will definitely be the vote for U.S. president, at least three other races will have some degree of importance for residents of Williams County. The only three contested races in the county are for County Prosecutor, County Sheriff and County Treasurer. All others are running unopposed.
Lewis Hilkert and A.L. Word will each retain their seats as Williams County Commissioners. Kimberly Herman and Kevin Park will also retain their positions as Clerk of Courts and County Coroner, respectively. Todd Roth will take over as County Engineer and Patti Rockey will begin the position of County Recorder. In addition, J.T. Stelzer was appointed Judge of the Common Pleas Court – General/Domestic Division.
Lora Manon will be running as an Independent candidate for Williams County Prosecutor. Kirk Yosick is the Republican candidate for the Prosecutor position. Independent candidate Daniel Hughes will vie with Republican Steve Towns for the position of Williams County Sheriff. The final race pits Independent Vickie Grimm against Republican Cathy Schuller for the position of Wiliams County Treasurer.
Once again, The Village Reporter gave the candidates the opportunity to answer a few questions about themselves. Each was given the following to answer:
1. Party Affiliation
2. What experience do you have that qualifies you for the position you are seeking?
3. What would you like to accomplish should you win election? (Specific goals? Changes you plan to make?)
4. What motivated you to run for office at this time?
5. Candidate statement
Williams County Prosecutor
Lora L. Manon
2. As Special Prosecutor for the City of Maumee, Ohio, and Assistant Law Director for the City of Defiance, I had the opportunity to prosecute traffic and misdemeanor criminal offenses. While employed by the City of Toledo, Ohio as a Senior Attorney/Assistant Prosecutor, I prosecuted traffic and misdemeanor crimes including housing and environmental offenses; my duties with the City of Toledo included representation of the City in various civil litigation matters.
I was also employed as an Assistant Prosecutor for Hardin County, Ohio, where I was primarily responsible for the prosecution of felony cases, from grand jury through trial and any resulting appeals. As an assistant county prosecutor, I gained experience as a prosecutor for juvenile cases – delinquency and unruly cases – and handled cases where children were removed from homes in which there was abuse or neglect.
In 1996, I was elected to the office of Hardin County Prosecuting Attorney. I served as the legal advisor for all county offices and agencies, and was responsible for managing the Prosecutor’s Office. I continued working as the prosecutor for felony cases, and for juvenile bindover matters.
I have also had the privilege of serving as Chief Legal Counsel for the Office of the Ohio Inspector General. In that position I participated in investigations of waste, fraud and abuse committed by state employees and officers and was part of two different case investigations and prosecutions: one involving Tom Noe and the other involving former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann.
I am currently employed by the Ohio Department of Public Safety as Associate Legal Counsel and chief Ethics Officer. I continue to work with law enforcement and provide legal counsel to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Bureau of Motor Vehicles and to other divisions within my department.
3. First, I intend to serve the county as a full-time prosecutor. I will not have a private practice that could interfere with the performance of my duties or which could result in both conflicts of interest and the need to hire a special prosecutor.
Second, I intend to see that the laws are applied equally and so that justice is accomplished, irrespective of name, residence or political motivation. I intend to work with law enforcement to ensure that officers have the training and assistance they need from the Prosecutor’s Office to successfully investigate and complete cases effectively.
4. Williams County is a place I am proud to call home. I want to bring home my extensive experience in order to serve the county. It’s time to give back to the county that has given so much to me.
5. As the only candidate with 16 years of experience as a prosecutor, and 25 years experience working with law enforcement, I am the most qualified candidate for Williams County Prosecutor. I care about this county and its residents, and will help keep it safe for all, especially our children. On November 6, I am asking for your vote.
2. A critical aspect of the county prosecutor’s office is fiscal management. My education, including a Masters Degree in Business Administration and my 9 years in finance with a fortune 150 company provides me the necessary foundation to effectively carry out my fiscal responsibilities. My 14 years experience in civil litigation and in the criminal justice system provides me the necessary experience to aggressively prosecute criminal cases to ensure that criminals are brought to justice. My significant community involvement and ownership of a local business has allowed me to obtain a clear perspective of the needs of our community and to develop the relationships necessary to effectively carry out the responsibilities of the prosecutor’s office.
3. 1. To protect the citizens of Williams County. My 14 years of experience in the criminal justice system provides me a unique perspective of the law. I will work diligently hand in hand with law enforcement to make certain crimes are solved and criminals are brought to justice. Law enforcement needs to be assured that crimes they investigate will be aggressively prosecuted.
2. To operate the county prosecutor’s office in a fiscally-responsible manner. In today’s economic environment and in light of declining county revenues, it is imperative that this office be operated efficiently and in a manner that avoids waste. Prosecutor staff that receive county benefits must be performing county functions. I will make it a top priority to work with the county treasurer in an effort to collect nearly $2 million in delinquent property taxes.
3. Provide efficient public services to citizens, agencies and townships of Williams County. A key role for the county prosecutor is to provide legal services to various Williams county officials, agencies and townships. It is the responsibility of the county prosecutor to be responsive to these needs. I will ensure that I am accessible to individuals to meet these needs.
4. Having been raised in Williams County and now raising my own family in this county, I have a passion for serving our community. I believe that my education and 14 years experience in the practice of law will provide an excellent foundation for me to effectively perform my responsibilities of the Williams County prosecutor’s office. This office requires a multi-faceted approach involving justice, service and in today’s economic environment, a clear focus on accountability.
5. I believe that my endorsement by the Williams County Republican Party, the Williams County Bar Association and virtually all county mayors and police chiefs is a testament to the confidence the residents of Williams County have in my abilities to tackle the tough issues that our county faces.
Williams County Sheriff
2. Graduate of Criminal Justice Training & Education Center, Toledo, Ohio.
Ohio Peace Officer Academy; Graduate of Northwest State Community College, Archbold, Ohio Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice (Criminal Justice Management with honors – Magna Cum Laude) ; Previous law enforcement positions include: Williams County Sheriff’s Office (1993-2004 Road Patrol Corporal); Stryker Police Department (2004-2010 Police Chief)
3. My top goals are simple ones; to put more deputies on the road responding to emergency calls, this will guarantee Williams County citizens are receiving the protection and service they deserve; to implement a county wide training program to ensure that all officers are receiving the necessary skilled training required for duty in a cost effective manner so that all departments can participate while maintaining their budget. And probably one of the most important measures I would require is mandatory First Aid, CPR & AED training for all deputies and department staff. These are basic life saving skills that are needed for an emergency first responder. When the Sheriff’s Office is contacted we need to be able to respond to any given situation. Last, but certainly also very important is to develop an open line of communication between all county law enforcement agencies and other government entities. This will confirm an across the board atmosphere of cooperation and unity between all departments. Top issue: Putting more deputies on the road. I will accomplish this by utilizing our Special Deputies Unit. By using Ohio Peace Officer Certified Special Deputies more units can work road patrol to assist the full-time deputies. The advantages are more deputies on the road, patrol vehicles will be more visible, deputy’s safety will increase with additional back-up available, and the overall cost will be less burdensome to the budget.
Budgetary issues: During my tenure with the Stryker Police Department, as the Police Chief, I had the opportunity to work specifically with a law enforcement budget for many years. Being conservative in my spending I was always able to stay within the allotted monies by seeking grants, private donations and making fiscally responsible spending choices. I was able to provide ballistic vests, safe vehicles, additional safety equipment, and professional uniforms at a reduced cost to the department. As the Williams County Sheriff I intend to research available grants as well as to seek private and corporate donations to offset today’s rising costs and budgetary issues in a measure to provide the best possible protection and service to the county.
4. Seeking the Sheriff’s position has been a twelve year process for me. Starting in 2000 when I was promoted into supervision for the Williams County Sheriff’s Office every step thereafter has been directed towards this one goal. I enter the election with twenty years of law enforcement experience, twelve years of law enforcement supervision, six years of law enforcement administrative experience and a sincere goal to provide experienced, positive leadership for the Williams County Sheriff’s Office. I would consider it an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to serve as the next Williams County Sheriff.
5. I have spent the majority of my adult career in Criminal Justice or Human Service fields. I have always felt that helping others should be a top priority in everyone’s life if they are able to offer assistance in some capacity when the opportunity presents itself. By seeking the Sheriff’s position I feel that I have the necessary skills and experience to move the Williams County Sheriff’s Office forward in a positive direction. I want to provide Williams County citizens with the protection, service and leadership they deserve. As a Williams County Sheriff Deputy, Stryker Police Chief and Mayor I have gained valuable knowledge that includes twelve years of law enforcement supervision and administrative experience. The Williams County Sheriff must be an administrator willing to work with all other county agencies. It is the Sheriff’s responsibility to maintain an efficient, well managed, well trained department.
2. Graduate of Hilltop High School; Criminal Justice Degree from The Defiance College; Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy; Various certifications and training related to law enforcement; At this writing I am the appointed Sheriff. Therefore, I am overseeing the administration of the Sheriff’s Department. For over twenty years I have worked for the Sheriff’s Office starting as a corrections officer and then working as a road deputy before leaving last year to run for the Sheriff’s position. In the interval, I was fortunate to serve as a full-time officer with the West Unity Police Department. I also have experience in the private sector as a former small business owner.
3. First, while working within the budget, I would like to find funds to increase the number of deputies who patrol the county and reduce their response times. To do this it may be necessary to reduce spending in areas other than patrol. Past wasteful spending practices need to be eliminated. At the same time all employees need to look for ways to reduce the cost of service. I have eliminated a command staff salary. Each employee has been challenged to increase their productivity while remaining professional and responsive. Also, the work schedule has been adjusted with the cooperation of the deputies’ union to provide for less overtime and better shift coverage.
Second, I would like to re-institute a drug awareness program. To that end, I have met with county superintendents to gauge their interest. I was encouraged by their response and have started working to be able to provide a school resource officer for the county schools. This will, of course, take money and I am well aware that money is in short supply for all of us. However, I want to explore every funding option to insure that the Sheriff’s Office can provide an officer to the schools.
Third, and this ties into my first goal, I want to provide professional service to each citizen of the county. Deputies need to know that their work is appreciated. They require specialized training, proper equipment and an atmosphere that encourages and rewards their hard work. This does not always need to involve monetary issues. I am working toward these goals every day.
There are many job specific goals that I have for the Sheriff’s Department. Most involve daily operation and accountability. Responsibility, pride and professional service need to be the ultimate goal
5. I have been employed by the Sheriff’s Department for over 20 years. I am running to make a difference for everyone: citizens who deserve professional service, taxpayers who deserve a fiscally responsible Sheriff and employees who deserve a positive work environment. The citizens of Williams County deserve a sheriff who is devoted to the Sheriff’s Department full time. I am a working Sheriff who handles calls along with other duties. I do not have another job that can take time and concentration away from the task at hand. A sheriff needs to devote all of his/her energies to the operation of the Sheriff’s Department. I am doing that and will continue to do so.
Williams County Treasurer
2. As a banker and bank manager for a leading financial institution, I have devoted the past 20 years of my career to learning every aspect of banking including running the day to day operations, maximizing revenue for the branch, managing risk for my customers and providing leadership for improved performance and growth. As a life-long Williams County resident, I have actively participated in community events and have a clear understanding of its issues and needs. With my professional experience, I can transition smoothly and easily in the position of Treasurer, assuring you of skilled service and leadership from day one in office.
3. Goal 1: Protect and Grow Investment Revenue
• I will utilize my 2 decades of banking experience and knowledge to invest County funds in compliance with all federal and state laws, and in a manner that seeks to ensure the preservation of capital, to maintain sufficient liquidity to meet all current obligations of the County and to attain or exceed a market rate of return throughout budgetary and economic cycles.
• With my extensive background and expertise in the financial industry I will manage all banking account relationships in order to secure adequate services while minimizing costs. I will maintain the highest level of expertise and knowledge of the county’s banking affairs and the banking options available to the county
Goal 2: Proactive vs. Reactive Collection of Delinquent Taxes
• It is most efficient and cost-effective for Williams County to be proactive in collection of taxes before delinquency becomes an issue. I will implement and publicize new and existing programs to improve on-time tax collection.
• It is my goal to work with the County Prosecutor’s office to assertively collect delinquent taxes in a timely manner. Working within the Ohio Revised Code guidelines I will provide budgeting and work – out agreements to taxpayers who have become delinquent and in return Williams County will have increased revenue to utilize.
Goal 3: Customer Service and Services Convenience
• Excellent customer service has always been and will continue to be a priority for the Treasurer’s office
• I will work diligently to educate residents on responsible budgeting to ensure adequate funds for payment of taxes, and realistic, reasonable and attainable payment plans
• I will assist the taxpayers by provision of secure, convenient locations to remit their tax payments
• I would like to provide more information to our residents by updating the Williams County Treasurer’s website
4. An opportunity to serve Williams County in this capacity does not often present itself. With Sharon Helbig retiring this is a great time for an experienced banker and a fresh perspective to join the Williams County team for the betterment of the county.
5. You, as Williams County residents, have the privilege to choose whom you want to elect to the Williams County Treasurer’s position. You have the opportunity to vote for experience in leadership and working with employees for the best possible solutions; you have the opportunity to vote for a person who can invest your tax dollars to earn more revenue for your county; and you have the opportunity to vote for a candidate who has proven to be trustworthy and honest.
Every vote counts, and I would appreciate your support on November 6th
2. I have had the luxury of serving the public as Deputy Auditor for the past 12 years. Those years have provided me with valuable actual county government experience by working in direct coordination with the Treasurer’s office as part of my daily duties.
3. First, I plan to work closely with the new prosecutor on new strategies for the collection of delinquent taxes in excess of 1.3 million dollars. I, also hope to move the office in the direction of a paperless universe. In the days of electronic banking, I believe we need to analyze our options. I plan to look into a new depository program that can increase the county’s investment and work directly with the Investment Advisory Board in an effort to get the best returns available for the county. My plan to streamline the movement of funds will be more cost effective and efficient for the county. Finally, serving the citizens to our best capabilities is an absolute must. Many of these goals can be achieved through strong communication and continuous improvement.
4. After serving as Deputy Auditor for about six years, I reassessed my goals and career path. I truly enjoy serving the public and decided it was time to serve in a leadership role. My hopes and aspirations were to one day being an elected official who would lead with positive leadership. In preparation for that role, while balancing full time work and family, I enrolled at Defiance College. I graduated with top honors in 2008 holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. When the current Treasurer announced she was retiring, I knew the time was right for me. I have the government experience by working with the Treasurer and the knowledge obtained through my degree is exactly the recipe for serving as a successful Treasurer.
5. Please keep in mind the monumental differences between private business and public. I have had the opportunity to work in both sectors and there is a huge learning curve to converting to a government way of thinking. In talking with almost any elected official, they will tell you that it takes a good two years to get accustomed to county government. By possessing 12 years of county government experience, plus my dedication, focus and being sympathetic to the needs of the citizens, I will not waste any time or taxpayer dollars in assuming the role of County Treasurer.