Monday, February 2, 2004

Clermont voters to choose court clerk

Will be county's 1st for common pleas

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Voters in Clermont County will choose this area's first countywide common pleas clerk of courts during the March 2 primary.

They'll choose between Union Township businesswoman Barbara A. Wiedenbein, a Republican, and Chris King of Miami Township, a retired engineer running as a Democrat.

Wiedenbein began preparing for her campaign last year, shortly before Clermont County officials voted to split the office in two.

Last year, former Clerk David Caudill, who was elected to the position in 1995, recommended the change to county commissioners, who approved it in a 2-1 vote.

Commissioner Scott Croswell voted against the change; saying the split would cost money the county can't afford.

But Mary Walker, county commission president, voted in favor of the plan, saying it would provide better service to judges and residents.

Caudill, who opted not to run for re-election, said two separate offices were needed because the amount of cases handled by the municipal and common pleas courts has grown exponentially over the years.

In the past, the "dual-duty" clerk was paid about $75,000 a year, which included a 25 percent bonus for doing both jobs.

As a result of the split, the municipal clerk earns about $86,000 annually, while the common pleas clerk will earn about $54,000. The municipal salary is higher because that office has a much higher caseload. It oversees about 44,000 cases annually.

This will be King's second attempt at the clerk's office. King was defeated in November for the municipal clerk spot by Tim Rudd, then assistant clerk of courts.

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