Drew Griffth took part in The Blade's question-and answer-session with the candidates in the primary for the Perrysburg Municipal Judge opening.
On the ballot Tuesday, residents will pick between three choices for Perrysburg Municipal judge on the Republican ticket. On the Republican ballot are Mr. Griffith, Aram Ohanian, and Molly Mack.
The winner Tuesday will run against non-partisan candidate Tom Mackin, a Perrysburg councilman, in the Nov. 5 general election when voters will elect a new judge to replace Judge S. Dwight Osterud, who is retiring after 23 years on the bench. The Perrysburg Municipal Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor criminal and traffic cases and small claims issues in Perrysburg, Northwood, Rossford, Walbridge, Millbury, and Perrysburg, Lake, and Troy townships.
Mr. Griffith, 53, is a Perrysburg resident. He earned a bachelor's of arts in business administration (political science, minor) from Wittenberg University in Springfield. He then received his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1985. He is magistrate for Northwood Mayor’s Court and is a private practice attorney.
1. What changes would you make as judge?
My first task as the new judge would be to review the court’s organizational chart and all positions in the court, assuring that there are well-defined job descriptions. Best management practices call for assuring that there is no unnecessary overlap of duties, while providing flexibility to allow for employee vacations, medical and family leave, etc. Assure that employees have adequate cross-training of job duties to keep court functions operating smoothly in times of transition or based upon unexpected sudden changes. I would redefine the current position of Judge’s Secretary to that of Law Clerk/Administrative Assistant to enhance the level of education and expertise at the judge’s disposal. This position could be intended to be for second-year law students for a three-year term, thus providing valuable experience to a future lawyer, and thereby enhancing the legal profession. The court must constantly embrace technology to improve public access to court records and streamline operations for parties and attorneys. Assure that the court’s operational practices are cost efficient and environmentally friendly.
2. As you campaign, what are you learning from the voters about their concerns about the court?
The court’s role in preventing incidents of domestic violence, impaired driving, and substance abuse are paramount in the minds of voters. Voters want to be confident that the court will impose sanctions upon, and provide treatment opportunities for, those convicted of offenses. Citizens demand vigilant monitoring of probationers. The electorate demands a court that is fair and impartial in the discharge of its duties. Voters are, of course, concerned that the court is operating in a fiscally responsible manner.
3. Name a specific experience from the past that shows your ability to be a judge.
I have served for over eight years as magistrate of the Northwood Mayor’s Court. The Northwood Mayor’s Court handles approximately 2,000 cases per year, including all criminal misdemeanors (other than domestic violence cases, which go directly to the Municipal Court) and all traffic offenses, including OVI cases (other than second or more OVI offenses). As magistrate, I have imposed fines, set bonds for in-custody defendants, imposed driver’s license suspensions from Ohio’s list of no less than 27 different types of suspensions, and when appropriate, imposed jail sentences of up to 180 days. In addition, I am a general practice attorney with both civil, misdemeanor and high level felony trial experience, for over 27 years.
4) What are your hobbies and interests outside of the courtroom?
I enjoy reading biographies and autobiographies, playing racquetball, riding my mountain bike, and doing the Daily Crossword in The Blade. I try to maximize time with my family, including my wife of nearly 28 years, Jenni, and our children Mitch, 22 (graduating from Wittenberg University on May 11); Hannah, 20, a junior at The Ohio State University; and Corey, 18, a senior at Perrysburg High School. I provide public address for Perrysburg High School boys lacrosse games, and assist with public address for Perrysburg High School football games.
5) In 25 words or less, why should voters elect you as the new judge?
I am personally and professionally prepared to undertake this community leadership position. I understand the legal, administrative, and public duties of the court.