Long-time incumbent, new challenger in race for Mansfield Municipal Court clerk

MANSFIELD — Voters will choose between long-time incumbent Daniel Smith and challenger Jerry Snay in the race for Mansfield Municipal Court Clerk of Courts on the Nov. 7 ballot.

The 74-year-old Smith, who has held the office for 17 years, is seeking another six-year term in a job that pays $128,670 per year.

Snay, 47, whose background is in law enforcement, is seeking his first elected office outside a spot on the Richland County Republican Party Central Committee.

The position, funded by local and state monies, is listed as non-partisan and neither candidate will have a party designation beside their name. But Smith earned his slot through the Democratic Party primary in May and Snay through the Republican side.

All duties of a municipal court clerk are spelled out in Ohio Administrative Code at Section 1901.31.

The Clerk of Court services all of Richland County except for the City of Shelby and six northwest townships. 

This includes the jurisdictions of the Mansfield City Police Department, Ohio State Patrol, Richland County Sheriff and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, among others. 

The Clerk of Court also processes charges for the City of Ontario, Villages of Lexington, Bellville, Butler, and Lucas, along with 13 townships.

Here is a look at both candidates:

Daniel Smith

A Lucas resident, Smith was formerly employed in the Richland County treasurer’s office for 32 years, including 22 years as the elected head of the office. In his last two re-election attempts in 2017 and 2011, Smith received 56 and 67 percent of the vote, respectively.

“There are still things I wish to accomplish in the office of the Clerk,” said Smith, a lifelong Richland County resident.

He said maintaining a reasonable budget and being fiscally responsible for public tax dollars will remain a priority.

“I will accomplish this by continuing to cut costs,” Smith said, claiming he had saved $230,000 per year by downsizing the violations bureau.

Smith, a high school graduate who earned certifications in appraising, investments and budgeting through continuing education efforts, said he planned to complete final stages for implementing E-ticketing software now in use in many courts around Ohio.

“E-ticketing is a service. It is not mandated by the state. The Supreme Court Report and Finances take precedent over non-mandated issues,” he said.

Smith said the clerk’s office takes in about $5.6 million per year.

“I have ensured the accuracy of the distribution of these funds to the various agencies, as well as reconciling our bank accounts each month,” he said.

Smith said the clerk’s primary job is to keep the records of the court.

“Our role is not to keep citizens or (law enforcement) officers safe, or to teach the public about fraud or give out legal advice,” Smith said.

Smith said he has been a Lucas Lions Club member for 46 years and also served the community as a Shriner and other charitable organizations.

“I feel volunteering in my community is extremely important to give back,” he said.

Smith said the implementation of scanning documents has helped to streamline the workings of the clerk’s office.

“However, it was determined that placing documents online for the public to access could potentially expose my office, as well as the City of Mansfield, to lawsuits.

“There could be a potential liability if information were to be released inadvertently, such as account numbers, victim informtion, etc.,” Smith said.

Jerry Snay

A Mansfield resident, Snay has served on the local GOP Central Committee for the last 11 years.

He earned an associate’s degree in police science, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in management with a concentration in criminal justice.

Snay said the clerk’s office needs change, led by a leader with a different perspective.

“I have worked in criminal justice for almost 30 years now,” said Snay, who was laid-off from the Richland County Sheriff’s Office in 2009 for two years.

“I accepted a job in Canton, but have never lost contact with my fellow officers in Richland County.

“Coming from law enforcement, I am aware of how the clerk’s office can better serve the public, including law enforcement,” Snay said. “I have heard the same complaints from officers and (police) chiefs for many years.

“I will make the improvements needed to improve the criminal justice system in the Mansfield area,” said Snay, currently the Village of Mifflin police chief who also teaches law enforcement at Stark State College in Canton.

If elected, Snay said his top three goals would focus on implementation of e-citations for all law enforcement agencies; restoring 24/7 bail; and creating a fraud education program/taskforce for the elderly.

“While (traffic) citations are not popular, they are a needed part of public safety. Traffic stops are very dangerous for officers and citizens,” Snay said, adding that the e-ticket program will reduce such stops from 15 minutes down to five minutes.

“Jurisdictions all around us have already implemented this technology. Shelby Municipal Court and Ontario Mayor’s Court utilize it,” Snay said.

Snay said the current clerk stopped accepting “24/7” bail years ago.

“The 8th Amendment protects against excessive bail and I believe no bail is excessive bail,” said Snay, who said he would create a kiosk in the Richland County Jail that would allow bail to be posted 24/7.

He said he would partner with local law enforcement agencies to help educate local elderly residents about fraud.

“We will also provide internet safety training (for the elderly). This might be a good partnership with the Ohio Area on Aging,” Snay said.

“I know the struggles and stresses everyone has when navigating the court system. I am not and ‘outsider’ who only understands the system from one view. I have been a customer (law enforcement officer) for many years and worked for Mansfield Municipal Court for one year as a probation officer.

“I will bring a fresh, new perspective and new ideas to the court,” Snay said.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

This post was originally published on this site